Jun 15 2013

A Real-Life Mystery

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I’m not sure if it’s the drug-induced stupor from my recent surgery*, but I could swear that I met Maggie True’s real-life counterpart this past week.

Who’s Maggie True? The main character in J.M. Maison’s cozy mystery, Desired to Death. Many of you might know J.M. Maison under a different name – Julia Munroe Martin (a.k.a. @wordsxo on Twitter).

But wait, yes … there is proof of her visit – I mean, Julia’s, not Maggie’s – even if she would NOT allow any together-photo portraits (okay – I’m not too fond of cameras, either, and didn’t object much):

What’s this? A copy of Desired to Death on the bumper of a car with Maine plates. In front of my house! I wasn’t dreaming at all. Click to enlarge.

After three years of correspondence on Twitter – and beyond – I found Julia to be every bit the sleuth that her protagonist Maggie True is. Case in point: our initial face-to-face meeting was at a BBQ joint, where, of course, our waitress was quite the character.

When our server walked away from the table after regaling us with stories of her life in San Francisco – living with a billionaire – the various places she’s called home (NYC, Chicago, LA, Deroit, etc.), her uncanny Demi Moore resemblance (huh? Methinks that’s wishful thinking), her desire to leave San Francisco to attend a tiny Arizona community college to enroll in “a program,” Julia’s mind went wild (Just like her character Maggie True, a woman who, when faced with the empty nest, turns to amateur sleuthing).

“She has a story,” Julia said of the waitress. “She’s running from something. I know it.” The most laughable part of lunch was when “Demi” said to me, “See you later, doll face.” Doll face? As Demi exited our table, Julia mouthed “doll face” to me, her eyes arched in question, and we could not stop laughing. What a great first meeting! But the rest of the visit, I’ll leave to Julia for explanation on her own blog – when she returns home from her cross-country road trip this weekend. I highly recommend reading her road trip posts. And while you’re at it, comment below by midnight EST, June 23 to win a copy of Desired to Death (or buy your own), signed by the author! A quick, fun read.

So long, Maggie True, J.M. Maison, Julia Munroe Martin. So surreal to see this talented, wonderfully warm woman leaving my Arizona home. Click to enlarge.

For Readers, Writers, Twitterers: My first in-real-life Twitter pal meeting was with @SuzieIvy, a detective, police officer and author who also lives in Arizona. This was back in 2010 when I was brand NEW to Twitter. You can imagine the hilarity that ensued when I texted my husband to say we were at lunch, “having gun.” Those damn iPhone keyboards! Yes, I meant to type “fun.” Read about Suzie’s take on the initial meeting near my hometown, and then see my post about a follow-up visit and officer-civilian ride-along in her neck of the woods the next spring. Her commentary on my visit to her turf is SO worth reading as well.

I also had the opportunity to meet @lroseriver for a hike in Tucson, and then @literarydaze at the Tucson Festival of Books this past spring (and again at the Historical Novel Society Meeting in Phoenix recently, which author @JMcCannWriter invited me to attend — we’ve been IRL friends for years – lucky me!). The Tucson Festival of Books also allowed me to stalk meet fabulous authors and Twitter friends @SarahMMcCoy, @JillianCantor, @jenna_blum, @randysusanmeyer, @IlieRuby, @KrisMcMorris. I love those intersections – when social media connections become real parts of my ‘real’ life.

Have you met any of your Twitter friends IRL – in real life? How’d it go? Did your family and friends think you were NUTS for doing it?

*If you’re wondering about my surgery, the gallbladder is gone – hallelujah – after seven years of discomfort. Thank you, genetics, once again.  And, at the BBQ joint with Julia: I had soup and salad, knowing surgery was days away. Can we say it together? 1-2-3: Awwww… Poor Melissa.


35 Responses to “A Real-Life Mystery”

  • avatar Jolina Petersheim Says:

    “Demi Moore” calling you “doll face”! I wish I could’ve been a fly on that BBQ joint wall, Melissa! I know you and Julia had an absolute BLAST together! And glad to hear you are mending!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Fly on the wall? We’d have invited you to sit right down at that booth! What fun we’d have had!

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  • avatar Jessica Vealitzek Says:

    Fun! If there is one social media giant I have yet to jump into, it’s Twitter. But I so see many relationships being formed there, I know it would be valuable in many ways.
    I met Hallie Sawyer a couple of months ago – my first Internet date. So glad you got to meet Julia. I was actually the winner of her book giveaway and I’ve started–cozy is a perfect way to describe it.

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    Melissa Reply:

    Jealous that you met Hallie! (Ironically, Twitter is ‘the’ one social media outlet I HAVE embraced … still not on Facebook or any of the others, mainly due to the time suck). So glad you already won Julia’s book. Congrats (and I’m heading over to YOUR blog to congratulate you on your FABULOUS news).

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  • avatar Shary Says:

    Some people are just characters and you can’t help but imagine the backstory. Wish I could have been there to join in the fun… I really wanted to climb into Julia’s suitcase so I could get the chance to meet you in person, too. Someday… 🙂

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    Julia Munroe Martin Reply:

    I have fond memories of visiting you & Lola, Shary… as for a group meeting, as you say, someday… can’t wait!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Yes, I wish you COULD have climbed into Julia’s suitcase (or that my schedule would have permitted a trip out to see you). As Julia says: we’ll make it happen some day!

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  • avatar Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Melissa – I’m glad your surgery is in the rearview mirror! Your adventure with Julia sounds like fun. “Doll face” — what a hoot!

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    Melissa Reply:

    I like the sounds of that: “in the rearview mirror.” Can’t wait to kick the pain and discomfort all the way to the curb!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Congratulations, Laurie. You won Julia’s book, DESIRED TO DEATH. I’ll have Julia get in touch with you directly regarding mailing address. Enjoy!

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    Laurie Buchanan Reply:

    WHOOHOO — THANK YOU so much! I’m excited to read it!

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  • avatar Julia Munroe Martin Says:

    I’M HOME with fond memories of meeting you along the 8,200 mile trip. Thanks again for the desert tour. It was a highlight, Melissa!

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    Melissa Reply:

    If only you could have stayed for more than 24 hours! There was so much MORE to show you. Next time, though? Phew… 8,200 miles. You are one tough broad (and I mean that in a good way, of course)!

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    Julia Munroe Martin Reply:

    Thank you 🙂

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  • avatar Cynthia Robertson Says:

    You didn’t breath a word about having to have surgery when I last saw you, Melissa. Talk about stoic, my goodness! So glad to hear you are well now (Doll face). =)
    Julia’s road trip with her daughter was amazing!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Well, the surgeon consult was the Monday after I met you (though I suspected the gallbladder was coming out during the HNS event & brought ’emergency supplies’ to Jessica’s in case I had issues that night). Thanks for the kind words, Doll Face :-). Can’t wait to meet up in person again.

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  • avatar Suzie Ivy Says:

    I’m so jealous that you met Julia, and all the others too. We missed our spring get together in your neck of the woods darn it.

    I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better after your surgery. I had eye surgery four weeks ago and we could have complained together 🙂

    Life has stopped for me because I’ve been working a homicide. We’ll catch up when this is over. I promise!

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    Melissa Reply:

    You, me: fall! No excuses. Sorry to hear about the eye surgery. I really could have used a whining buddy!

    And, oh my … a homicide in small town. You sure have your share of murder and mayhem … and toasters … and …

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  • avatar Annie Neugebauer Says:

    How cool that you two got to meet! Sounds like you had a fun time. =) I don’t think I’ve ever met any of my tweeps in real life — although I’ve had plenty that I met IRL first… Does that count?

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    Melissa Reply:

    Sure that counts. THat’s me and Jessica McCann! Guess you need to plan a road trip to see me! 😉

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  • avatar Erika Marks Says:

    How did I miss this wonderful post, Melissa?! SO glad I found it, and the pictures made me smile–now that I’ve met Julia and you and I have JUST chatted on the phone–it’s all that much richer and more special to see these pictures and read about your adventures during her visit.
    Hugs to you BOTH!!

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    Julia Munroe Martin Reply:

    Hugs back to you Erika and to you, too, Melissa! It’s so great that I’ve met you both now… can’t wait for a group meet-up!

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    Melissa Reply:

    And next time, you’re coming along for the visit. Oh the camping and hiking we could do!

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  • avatar Jennifer King Says:

    How fun! Julia, you are a traveling woman — 8200 miles — wow! And, Melissa, I’m so glad to hear you’re past a tough surgery and can joke about it now. Hope you’re feeling 100% soon!

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    Melissa Reply:

    I know… Julia’s road trip sounds AMAAAAZZZING. Thanks, Jennifer. I’m still in recovery mode and am looking forward to being back in the saddle!

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  • avatar Nina Says:

    I have loved reading the tweets and now the posts about you and Julia meeting! It’s so wonderful that your in-person time exceed expectations. (It doesn’t always work that way.)

    I met Erika Robuck last week! She is as charming and GORGEOUS as she seems online. Everyone loved her talk at Common Good Books in St. Paul. Then I got to be part of a small group that had dinner with her afterwards. It was really great!

    I already have Julia’s book so take me out of the running!

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    Julia Munroe Martin Reply:

    Hope you enjoy my book, Nina! I’d love to meet Erika Robuck, too — lucky (both of) you!

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  • avatar Donna Says:

    I bet you are a new woman now (or in the very near future) since the gallbladder is out! Hopefully you will be 100% better soon.

    My copy of The Guest House arrived yesterday! After reading your post, I ordered Desired to Death, and it arrived today. I’m ready for the opportunity to dig in to both new reads.

    I’m shakin’ my head that Julia traveled over 8,000 miles all by herself. Very impressive! If I had done that, there is no telling where I would have ended up – the “sense of direction” gene didn’t seem to make it on any of my chromosomes, sadly.

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    Julia Munroe Martin Reply:

    Thank you so much for buying Desired to Death, Donna! As for my over-8000 mile trip, I have to say it was one of the most fun things I’ve done in my life! I was daunted, no question, when I first thought about driving home solo (my daughter went one way with me), but it turned out to be invigorating! As for sense of direction, that’s what my GPS is for 😉

    Thanks again for buying the book — I hope you enjoy it!

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    Melissa Reply:

    I am feeling better, Donna. Thank you. One week today since surgery and AMAZING the difference between two days, honestly. So glad you got your copy of The Guest House! And re: Julia and 8000 miles: AMAZING, I agree.

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  • avatar Jackie Cangro Says:

    Dear Doll Face… (love that!)

    Doesn’t that waitress know that she can’t say those things to two authors?!? 🙂 That just fires up the storyteller parts of our brains.

    Glad to hear that you had a wonderful time with Julia. (I already have a copy of her book – up next on my TBR list.) Also glad to hear that your surgery went well.

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    Melissa Reply:

    Ha. Your doll face comment cracked me up! Yes, shouldn’t these people know that when they are in the midst of writers, their lives are ‘fair game”? And, yes, surgery was a week ago today; I’m FINALLY feeling better. Woo hoo.

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    Julia Munroe Martin Reply:

    So happy to hear you have my book, Jackie – hope you like it! As for those mysteries…. we writers really have our ears tuned into them, don’t we? It was so much fun!

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  • avatar Lori P Says:

    HHHHHHHHAAAAAAA!! You had me at Demi, but the dollface has me rolling on the floor. No way is she waiting tables at a BBQ joint in Tucson for anything other than running away and/or the witness protection program. Hilarious!

    My only real meet-up has been with Denise Jaden, a YA author, who was the speaker that evening at a Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators lecture that evening. I was with a friend who knew her. And now I love her because she was terrified beforehand and very quiet – then blew us all away with her material. Fabulous gal!

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    Melissa Reply:

    You are HILARIOUS; this was exactly Julia’s theory: witness protection program. Funny how we writers always seek those dark explanations! Wow – Denise Jaden sounds fabulous; I want to meet her now!

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