If you haven't read my rave review of the Anonymous Source by A.C. Fuller yet, you should. This suspense/thriller/mystery/awesome story of a burgeoning relationship is well written, perfectly plotted and, well, mysterious. But I'm here to review the launch party at Lowercase Brewing today, not the book. So, bare with me as I tell you a little story about how my night at Lowercase Brewing in Seattle, Wa went.
The ferry was late for some reason. I shared a slick bench seat with a couple Romanian men I didn't know, but who motioned to the seat and their cell phone chargers in askance. Sure, I shrugged. They plugged in a chatted away, a nice cadence to take a nap to, which I did, having just finished an eventful baby shower and feeling a cake coma was required before the next party--a not-your-average book launch for colleague and author, A.C. Fuller. Five minutes before last announcement one of my bench mates gently elbowed me, "Your phone is beeping. You have a message, maybe." I smiled, thanking him, and pulled my phone out of my pocket.
No, my phone was beeping it's last, feeble dying beeps before succumbing to darkness. "Damnit! It's dying, and I don't know the address of the brewery I have to go to." One of the men unplugged his phone from a charger and offered me the cord. "We have to go to the car soon, but maybe use it to find your address." I plugged in, smiling my thanks, and turned it on, rolling my eyes at the ridiculous Motorola graphic that takes my phone ages to load. Okay, maybe only a minute, but these nice men have to get to their car, Motorola, can we skip the fancy wake-up earth picture, and just turn on, porfavor?!
I was able to send a quick, "Love you. Phone dying" message to my husband before the nice men had to take their chargers and head for the car. I was also able to get the address for the brewery. So, repeating it out loud like a weirdo with a wire loose, I wandered into Seattle the same day as two sports games (don't ask me which, I don't know sports) and Seafair.
Getting a taxi was fairly easy. I slipped into one right off the ferry, reciting the directions out loud to someone who cared, this time. He programmed the directions to the brewery into GPS and we took off, swerving and honking our way past crowds of blue, green and white pedestrians. I soon realized, however, that the dense traffic from three simultaneous events was going to cost me. I made a face at the meter and opened my wallet to count the cash I had, hoping I'd not have to use my debit card for a taxi. Eighteen dollars is not going to cut it. I thought as I counted my meager cash supply. I never have much cash. Oh, well. Most taxis take cards these days. I dug in my wallet for my debit card and cursed. "What's wrong?" my driver asked, eyeing me, probably offended by my pirate's tongue.
"Uh, I have exactly eighteen dollars on me. I forgot my debit card...somewhere." I looked at him apologetically. "Just take me as far as eighteen dollars takes me, and I'll walk to rest of the way."
The man shook his head. "I'm not dropping you off in the middle of South City. You have friends at this place, no? You ask them for money."
I sighed. "I really would rather not. I know exactly one person at the party, and it's his day, so asking for money is going to make me look like a jerk. I'll walk. I'm not afraid" The guy shook his head, but said nothing.
The meter got to eighteen and he gestured out the window at graffitied buildings, down-and-out-souls and boarded windows. "This is eighteen dollars. I'm not comfortable with it." He shook his head and didn't slow down. I could tell he was trying to be gallant, trying to not have my existence on his consciousness all night, probably knew I could get the money and wanted to be ahead for his trouble, and I was still a ways from my destination. "Okay, I guess we will make it work." He nodded once in agreement. I muttered to myself, Even though I can take care of myself. But it wasn't a day for proving my hulk-like strength, panther-like speed and grace and female prowess. I had to get to the party, so that I could help A.C. with the book reading , and I was looking forward to it.
Once at the party, I sheepishly hugged A.C. and met his book manager who was frantically and successfully pulling the party off. Everything looked amazing. There was a raffle table, delicious smelling and chic Anonymous Source beer displayed everywhere, and a huge poster of A.C.'s phenomenal cover. People were drinking and happy, and I thought, This was a great idea for a venue. People need to be drinking when I release my book. I felt like a tool when I gestured to the cab and explained my predicament to his wonderful manager, but my counselor says my pride gets in the way of a lot of things, so I let it go, and accepted, very gratefully, her wonderful help. Come to think of it, being willing to walk through South City in order not to ask for help probably is prideful, so I must have a fantastic counselor.
Thank you, Jennifer! You saved me from a very long, somewhat dangerous walk. You are a super lady and I am going to get you your ten dollars if I have to drive up to beautiful B-ham and buy you dinner. Actually, that sounds lovely. I might do that. I miss that beautiful city.
I paid my driver, who looked very smug to be right and I shooed him away. The rest of the night was a blur of awesomeness. I was not sure that a night starting off so very...eventfully...would be much of a success, but it really was. Apart from wondering how I was going to get home without feeling like a tool again, I had a really good time. I met the coolest and most wonderful couple in the whole world. Justin and Chris, you made my night with your generous spirits and wonderful insights, and I am very happy to have met you. I met tons of Booktrope people who I'd "talked to" online, but who really just need to be seen in person. I had no idea Booktrope was such a good-looking company. Seriously, our profile pictures don't even begin to cover how good-looking we are. If you like books from great looking people, Booktrope is a good way to start. I'm not sure how many people buy based on that criteria, but I thought I'd mention it.
And I successfully helped narrate the reading for A.C. without too much mumbling or humiliation. I had a nice chat with the other reader, a fantastic woman (who was a stunning younger version of the actual Camilla) studying for her M.A. in Theater, who pulled off Camilla without a hitch. And A.C., despite his nerves, was the perfect Alex Vane. He did write him, after all. I was able to talk with the marketing agent for Solid Ground, the wonderful and worthy cause that A.C. donated the raffle money to, and he was nice enough not to openly think me too nerdy for my elbowy, white dancing to Amanda Allen's wonderful Anonymous Source rap (below). Honestly, the love and devotion and pure talent of that woman floored me. It's safe to say, she took the show. It was also lovely to see that Dugoni and Hobbs, two successful authors in A.C.'s genre, stopped by to show their support. The writing community is a close one and a very fun one.
Thankfully, I was saved from further groveling and begging when Maddy, NWIC wonder woman, showed up to the party with her boyfriend, who was offered copious Anonymous Source 'party favors' upon exiting the launch (enough to test the strength of Maddy's sad Urban Outfitters cloth bag, which, regrettably, did not pass the test) and offered me not just a ride to the ferry but a ride home. Maddy, if I ever make it big as an author, I'm hiring you as my personal assistant. NWIC will just have to deal with that.
All in all, A.C., that was the most fun I've ever had at a book launch, even with the rocky start. I wish you all the luck in the future and thank-you for your help in introducing me to Booktrope and in letting me be a part of the process. If you haven't yet picked up The Anonymous Source, readers, I suggest you get on it. He's already working on book two.
H.M Jones is the author of B.R.A.G Medallion Honor and NIEA finalist book Monochrome, its prequel Fade to Blue, the Adela Darken Graphic Novellas, Al Ravien's Night, The Immortals series, and several short stories.