August 27, 2009

Searching for A Starry Night and Other Books in Galena!

There's nothing like a group of authors getting together to make a booksigning memorable. (Unless Norm Cowie or Joe Konrath are there. No explanation necessary.)

That's what a bunch of us did this past weekend at the first Literary Bookfest in Galena, Ill.

Thanks to the organizational skills of, and wonderful accommodations at the charming Huckleberry Inn by author Barb Annino, this soon-to-be-annual event in Galena, Ill. managed to even outshine former resident, Civil War General and 18th US President, Ulysses S. Grant (if that's at all possible!)

Besides their own books, most of the authors had stories in the anthology, Missing, with proceeds going to benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Authors present included:
* Norm Cowie (Fang Face); (be sure to read his funny take on the trip and a few of the uh, less "savory" events);
* Barb Annino (Missing);
* Henry Perez (Killing Red);
* J.A. Konrath (Cherry Bomb);
* Luisa Buehler (The Innkeeper: An Unregistered Death);
* Margot Justes (A Hotel in Paris);
* Mary Welk (The Rune Stone Murders);
* JD Webb (Moon Over Chicago);
* Barbara DeShong (Too Rich and Too Thin);
* and me, Christine Verstraete (Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery)

There were two signings, one at the Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant, where you were greeted by this guy inside the door. (Nice place, don't let the grouchy face fool you.)

A second signing was held at the Brio Art Gallery, a wonderful modern jewel set right in vintage downtown Galena. Stunning art and jewelry.

Oh Beautiful, Spacious Skies!

I hadn't been to Galena in over 20 years and forgot some of the highlights. The big surprise was coming over the hill on the way and suddenly this wonderful green vista explodes in front of you. I forgot how hilly - and beautiful - the area was. (This pic doesn't do it justice. I thought I'd taken the better view looking down.)

Oh, and when I say hilly, I actually mean monstrous stairs! There are several whopping sets of steps. I think this is the one that has more than 200 steps. Going down was fine. (I didn't try going up; walking back up the hills to the B&B was enough for me.)

It is a town full of interesting shops and fascinating history. Lincoln spoke from the balcony of the old DeSoto House Hotel.

Grant's Home, a gift from the townspeople after his return from the Civil War on Aug. 18, 1865, is a charming brick residence and still contains much of the original furnishings.

I didn't get a chance to tour any of the other historic buildings, but I'm looking forward to another visit and more time to do so.

It was a great event: interesting history, great books, fun people and beautiful scenery. What more can you ask for?


  1. You guys have too much fun!!

    Congrats on the great book sales and turnout, and for surviving the day with Norm and Joe. LOL!


  2. Great friends, great books, great weather, and a great turnout for the book signing. What more could a writer want? Good seeing you in Galena, Chris. See you in November at Stagg High School!


  3. Was great meeting you, Chris. Had a great time with a bunch of talented authors.

  4. WOW! What a neat event and a great bunch of authors and what looks like an amazing location. Congrats!

  5. Wow, Galena looks beautiful! Glad you had such a great time.

  6. Great post. We are sure glad that everyone involved with the event had such a wonderful time! We hope to see you again soon in the future. From your friendly hosts for visitor information, the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau


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