Friday, May 11, 2012

Meeting Icy

Just as Rob will always be Fifty in my heart, E L James will always be Icy in my head :)

As most of you know, I have been a fan of Icy and MotU/MotUII for a very long time (thanks to pleading back in the day by Dangrdafne and Twilight Cupcake and an epic fanmade video by Biel). Since then, there have been story reviews, emails, tweets, blog tributes (including this one Fifty Shades of Thanks), and graphic designs. I even fell in love with a kiwi along the way (*waves at TwiKiwi50*). It was getting so bad that some of you thought I should be her PR person or be getting a commission. "Ka-ching!" became synonymous with me mentioning her and/or the stories. So to say that finally getting to meet her in person was a big deal for me is an understatement.

When her U.S. book tour was announced and Chicago was one of the stops, I immediately bought a ticket. The reception was hosted by The Book Stall at Chestnut Court and held at The Standard Club. The $75 ticket price included drinks, hors d'oeuvres, a copy of all three books in the trilogy, a personalized autograph in the book of your choice, and generic autographs in the other two.

I talked Kassie (Twilight Junkies Anonymous12 Months of Rob) into going with me, and we had an amazing time despite the dress code. You heard right. I had to check my baseball jersey at the door ;) The venue was easy to get to and gorgeous. There was an endless supply of food and drink, and the staff from the book store and the club were helpful and appreciative of the turnout. And turn out we did. There were 400+ of us there.

The one and only alcoholic drink we had that night. Honest.

Kassie and I ended up sitting with two other women who were there separately, and we enjoyed hearing their take on everything. It's still hard for us to wrap our heads around the fact that not everyone read the stories first as fanfiction and that for them, casting of the movie is a wide open canvas.

Our tablemates (Jill, to my left, was especially fun to get to know.)

After a welcome from the book store owner, Roberta Rubin, there was a cute reading of ten reasons "You Might Have It Bad For Christian Grey" by local writer Ann Marie Walker. You can read her posts and review of the night here.

Then came the guest of honor, author E L James. When she was introduced and took the stage, it was to cheers, applause, and a standing ovation. We left our table to get closer to the stage and stood along the side. It was hard to get good pictures though because of the dim lighting (that and a photographer I am not). The first words out of her mouth were "H-o-l-y shit!" and it was the perfect icebreaker. I had talked to her by email before the event, and she said it's just crazy that all of this is happening. She has been doing a lot of interviews during the book tour, and it really is true. She's down to earth, humble, and stunned that all of this is happening to her.

She spoke for a few minutes and then fielded questions before signing books. Of course there was a question about casting, but she insisted that they are a long way from that yet. Another fan asked if she was going to write another book, to which she replied that she'd actually already written two but that she'd need to go back and look at them again before they were ready to send to a publisher. Then there was the frequently asked question of whether or not she would continue the series, to which she (half?) joked "...I'm kind of sick of these kids." Someone pleaded for at least a book told from Edward's Christian's POV, and she eventually relented by saying, "Never say never." (Right about now, kiTT's whispering, "Midnight Sun.")

By dumb luck, we were actually standing where the line to get autographs was supposed to start. I had to hold Kassie back from giving the people from the other side of the room who were line jumping a piece of her mind ;) It was all good, though. We were still in the middle of the line, and I had faith that Icy would stay until all of the books were signed, and she did.

Staff came around and gave us a yellow post-it note to write our name on and showed us which page to put it on inside the book (title page). This is apparently common practice at autograph signings. It makes sense because it meant the line wasn't slowed down by asking for your name and how to spell it. Icy was seated at a table and to her left was a man who kept things moving by getting the books from the next person in line, opening them up, and sliding them in front of her to sign. I found out later that he is the VP/Director of Publicity at her publishing company, Anchor/Vintage Books at Random House.

Kassie went first, and I managed to get a picture, despite the fact that I was so nervous/excited.

(L to R) Agent Valerie Hoskins, Kassie, Icy, Publicist Russell Perreault

Having met Rob in a similar situation, I knew that the moment would be over in a heartbeat. Finally, it was my turn. Her publicist took my books and then slid the first one in front of her. I had written (17 forever) Lisa on my post-it note. I'll be honest. I was hoping for a small sign of recognition. What I got was surreal. She read it, gasped, looked up, and then got up from the table to wrap me up in a hug and tell me, "It's so lovely to finally meet you." It was definitely a moment I won't forget. She then proceeded to introduce me to her agent, Valerie Hoskins, telling her that I was the Lisa she'd been talking about.

Thanks to Jill for this picture.

Our personalized "Laters Baby" autographs

They had announced earlier that there wouldn't be individual pictures so that the author had time to sign everyone's books, so as I was standing by her agent waiting for my books to be signed, I said I had really hoped for a picture and Icy overheard me. She then asked if I could please stay until the end of the reception so that we could chat some more and do pictures. I checked my watch. Lie. I said of course with what was probably a goofy-ass grin on my face and headed back to our table with Kassie and the other two girls. I think all four of us were doing our own version of "H-o-l-y- shit!" at this point.

We visited awhile longer and the room started to thin out. Eventually, there was some applause and we looked over to see Icy standing up and waving to the people who were left and then she exited out a side door. I figured that was it. But then her publicist made his way through the empty tables and chairs to where we were sitting. He pointed at me and said that she wanted me to come up to her hotel room. Um. Yeah. Holy shit didn't even cut it at this point. I had the presence of mind to remember that Kassie was with me and explained that to him. He was very gracious and said it was no problem for her to come along too. I wish I had a picture of the two of us walking hurriedly behind him at this point. LOL!

On the way to the elevator, I ran into Michelle (Micki Martini), one of my roomies from the weekend in Chicago when we saw 100 Monkeys and again on my last trip to Forks. I'm sure onlookers watching our reunion thought we should have gotten a room that night as well ;) For those of you who know Michelle, you know she is one of the biggest sweethearts ever and an absolute riot to spend time with. I wish I had known she was going to be there ahead of time so I could have talked to her longer.

Kassie and I rode the elevator with security and a few other guests of Icy's, and she greeted us at the door. I wish I could tell you everything that we talked about, but then I'd have to kill you. Kidding. The thing is, I was unprepared. I told her that there were a million questions I should be asking and a million things I should be saying but the moment was just too big. She shook her head at that, of course. She thanked me for all of my support, past and present. She said it really is people like us who make this all worthwhile. She appreciates our thanks, but she said it is we who deserve the thanks because she knows she wouldn't be where she is today without us. And that especially includes old fans...Twilight fanfiction fans...despite what you may hear elsewhere. Icy still has her original twitter account. She doesn't hide the fact that these books started out as Twilight fanfiction. She didn't have to do what she did for me that night, as I am a direct link to her "past." But that's the thing. It's a past she's not ashamed of, nor should she be.

We took some pictures together and then I asked if she'd pose for a picture with Kassie, which she was more than happy to do. We headed for the door so she could let us out, but not before she made me promise to tweet her that I'd made it home safely. I did, and I did :)

Wearing my ever-present "Aini In Our Hearts Forever" bracelet, Steph!

It was a long day - very early to work so I could get 8 hours in, a 3-hour drive to Chicago, the reception, the meeting after, the 3-hour drive back home - but boy was it worth it, and it was nothing compared to the schedule Icy is keeping these days.

I can't wait to see how everything unfolds as the book heads to the big screen. If scheduling and location permits, I will be there to support her at her first world premiere. And regardless of who is cast (or maybe I should say who isn't cast), I will be the first in line to buy a ticket (or two, or three, or fifty) to see the movie.



sassykassie1 said...

Thanks again for 'dragging' me along with you :) I had the best time!

I was getting a little... grrrrrr... with the line cutters. I don't like line jumpers. Thanks for making sure I didn't get dragged out in cuffs... police cuffs, I'd willingly go in Christian's cuffs ;)

I could tell you all what I said to Icy but I don't need you all to *facepalm* for me lol. She was so sweet and I love that she stayed over to sign every last book, remember that stack of about 50 books that lady was carrying!?!

It was definitely surreal to hear people throwing in their ideas for Christian knowing they've never read it with Rob/Edward in mind. I can't wait to not only find out who takes on the role but where it'll be filmed (maybe she was scouting locations on her tour, Chicago could be a great place to recreate Seattle) and where the premiere will be.

BellaTesoro said...

Awww Lisa, that post put me right there with you and Kassie. So now I don't feel so Fifty Shades of Envious about missing out...
Wow, just wow. First, that you were there from the beginning, supporting the story you loved and making a friend of the author. And next to be acknowledged like Icy did to you, makes me so proud of you both. That she kept her roots meaningful to her, the Twilight connection front and center when others would want her to hide from it, well, I respect her so much for that.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Lisa, you lasso those stars and bring them to you. And always so generous, and warm hearted, you always share the light from those stars with the rest of us.
Thanks for sharing!

twilightcupcake said...

Wow Lisa amazing. My sister is very jealous and super excited for you. Thanks for the shout here and in your previous 50 post as well. Did you ever get the Icy signed 50 pic that I sent you in the mail? Can't remember. I just came across mine the other day and realized that it's a weird collectors item since it's an Icy thing. Missing you lots and very happy for you that you got to meet her :)

miss tejota said...

I'm so happy for you Lisa. That is über cool.

CC said...

Great post, Lisa! So happy for you and Kassie - oh, and for Icy, too, of course!

That was one amazing venue! I hope the UK manages to arrange something as big as that - to my knowledge, we're not that ostentatious when it comes to book signings. We could sure learn a thing or two!

So glad you had such an awesome time - despite the dress-code (that would have been my downfall...)

CC x

Nessa Lomiva said...

What a fantastic story, Lisa. As I said, there was a story in our local newspapers about this particular book signing, and about Icy, and I wondered if any of my friends had been there as well. :)
I am super excited for you. If anyone deserved this experience it's you. You've been a true, utter, hard core fan of 50 (ka-ching) since the moment you discovered it.
I do hope you get to stay in touch with Icy.

Anonymous said...

What a great post thank you for sharing your adventure. MoTU just grabs you and doesn't let go, it has to be my all time favorite too. I get to live vicariously through you ladies and your blogs. Thanks again!

Dangrdafne said...


She immediately knew you, got up to hug you and then made sure you had more time together. Beautiful!

It is great to hear that kindness begets kindness.

Dangrdafne said...


She immediately knew you, got up to hug you and then made sure you had more time together. Beautiful!

It is great to hear that kindness begets kindness.

Jeanette said...

This is so awesome Lisa. I'm so so very happy for you

Jeanette said...

This is so awesome Lisa. I'm so so very happy for you

NibbleitPattinsonakaNebilet said...

I'm so glad you got to go meet her, I know there is a lot of controversy around all this, the books, the fan fic, the blah, blah, blah. As far as I'm concerned, good for her, she made it, she got to do what so many others want to and thats where the problem lies (in other ppls eyes that is) I think its amazing and fabulous that she is a published author...and thats that lol x Glad you had a great tine it looked fabola!

NibbleitPattinsonakaNebilet said...


Zanymouse said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so happy for you!!! So glad you and Icy were able to hook up and spend some personal time together. Squee!

Anonymous said...

I read this the other night on mobile and just had to come back and comment.

Lisa, Kassie - I am so jealous! As you know my love for Fifty runs deep, and is the reason I met so many people, and as my now dog-eared copy of FSoG carries signatures from all the Twitards I met last year, it really reminds me of what brought me to so many wonderful people.

Icy, if you're reading this, please know we will always love and support you. And when you come to NZ on a book signing tour, you can bet what my little yellow post-it will say :-)

Thanks Lisa xxx

TwiWeasel said...

I was so excited to see this post, but I was on my phone and it just didn't work out to leave a comment. I did, however, stand in the middle of Wal-Mart and read the entire thing!

Lisa, I've said this clean up real nice! LOL! I was so incredibly happy to hear that she not only recognized you immediately, but that she got up and hugged you and introduced you to her "people"! How exciting!!

Kassie, you are too freakin adorable!! I'm so glad Lisa and her mothering ways kept you from harm. *smirk*

What you said about her appreciating her fans was wonderful and amazing. The world would be such a better place if there were more people like you, Lisa. For Realz.

TongueTwied said...

Sounds like the evening could not have gone more perfectly!

The women you sat with must have been overwhelmed at the wealth of info and laughs you two were!

So great to read about this and I'm so happy that things went even better than you both expected!

rottymama said...

Yay! So happy for you guys! I giggle everytime 50 book is mentioned now.

rottymama said...

Yay! So happy for you guys! I giggle every time that 50 Shades is mentioned.

eds_piano said...

What a fantastic experience. I'm so happy for you, isn't it wonderful to meet someone you admire.

I'm a bit late to the 50 party (as usual) but I'm making up time real fast ... I'm most finished 50
Shades Darker as I write this, i am late because when MotU was recommended to me by @TwiKiwi50 and @SparklyJul I was new to fanfic and just skipped ahead to the good bits, not reading the story, then it got pulled from the site and was turning into a book and now I have it on my Kindle app on my phone, so I can take it EVERYWHERE and I'm enjoying it so much.

Oh and by the way your awesomesauce artistic skills on Amy's blog are unbelievaballs.

Stef xx

Snarkier Than You said...

I just happened across this now (hey, at least I am consistent!) and WOW - good things DO happen to good people! : )

Micki_Martini said...


It was such a wonderful surprise to see you at the Chicago event for EL James, our beloved Icy! Our groping might have seemed inappropriate to the others in the elevator, but in the words of our friend, "What is it about elevators?"

Thanks for your kind words. It was a magical evening and one I'll never forget. I can't wait to see you again my friend, I hope it's sooner than laters ;)

All my best,

Twired Jen said...

I'm a wrapped up in this pregnancy and totally missed this post from 3 effing months ago?!? OMG. I knew you had gone, but obviously didn't know all the details. I'm absolutely thrilled for you & wouldn't think Icy would do anything less than what she did. You have been her #1 supporter/pimper etc. So glad you got to spend some time with her. Amazing. AND awesome Kassie got to join you.

So very cool.

Love ya!

xo J

Unknown said...

Just read this post - I can't believe I hadn't seen it until now! What a great experience :). It's so nice that Icy was able to go the extra mile and make it that much more special for you two. I'm so happy for you! xx


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