real pictures and places from a stranger thing…chicago!

In my last couple posts, I’ve shared some pictures from Brussels and Denver, 2 of the major locations in A Stranger Thing. The final major location I’ll be posting some of my own photos from is Chicago, where Kylar, Jansen, Thaler, Xavier, Drew, and Brooke live! I grew up about 3 hours from Chicago, and one of my best friends lives there now, so I visit pretty often. It is a beautiful city and LOTS of fun!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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along the Chicago Riverwalk

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Michigan Avenue skyline as viewed from Millennium Park. these buildings are like the one where I imagine Brady getting a place later in the book (don’t worry, that’s not much of a spoiler)

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Mich Ave skyline at dusk from Lake Michigan

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view from floor 103 of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). the tall black building near the lake is the John Hancock Building, where Kylar goes w/ Steven on Valentine’s Day

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looking south and east along Lake Michigan, toward Indiana

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looking north along Lake Michigan, toward Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, Lakeview, Uptown, and eventually Wisconsin

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another view from the Willis Tower

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view of the Chicago River from above

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the river dyed green for St Patty’s Day ๐Ÿ™‚

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a summer day at the beach along Lake Michigan!

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Montrose Harbor, at a beach in Uptown

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Lincoln Park in winter. Kylar, Jansen, Xav, and Thaler live in this neighborhood, a little north of downtown and the Loop

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in the heart of Wrigleyville! Drew lives just a few blocks from Wrigley Field

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view from floor 12 of the Westin on Michigan Avenue, where Jansen stays when she shows up early in Chicago and surprises Thaler

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same view in daylight

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me w/ my Chicago bestie Chris ๐Ÿ™‚

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another of Chris and me, hanging at a bar in Wrigleyville

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We โค Chi-town! ๐Ÿ™‚

For more about the adventures of Kylar, Jansen, Xav, Thaler, Drew, and Brooke, make sure to check out A Stranger Thing on my blog or website! ๐Ÿ™‚ Until next time, and thanks for reading… ๐Ÿ™‚

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real pictures and places from a stranger thing…denver!

Ok guys, I really am going to start updating my blog WAY more often. ๐Ÿ™‚ Last time, I featured some pictures I took in Brussels, where my character Kella lives and where a few pretty important scenes in A Stranger Thing take place, including the awesome cliffhanger! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Today, I am showcasing Denver, where Lorylyn, Zibby, Taylor, Crissy, Winthrop, and Brady live, and where I used to live as well! I love this city so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

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downtown Denver

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16th Street Mall, where Lorylyn, Taylor, and Zibby’s apartment building is ๐Ÿ™‚

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clock tower on 16th Street Mall, one of Denver’s iconic landmarks…the tallest building west of the Mississippi until 1957! I lived 2 blocks from here!

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my favorite sculpture in Writer’s Square on the 16th Street Mall

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my apartment building in Denver! I lived on the 27th floor here for 3 years =D

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view from my bedroom window ๐Ÿ™‚

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view of Uptown from my living room…this is one of the places Zibby and DJ look at houses

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another fabulous view from my living room ๐Ÿ™‚

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Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of the places Lorylyn takes Jansen, Kylar, and Cade to visit when they come for Thanksgiving

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Casa Bonita, the best restaurant in the WORLD!!! =D Another of the places Lorylyn takes Jansen, Kylar, and Cade

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view of Denver from Buffalo Bill’s grave on Lookout Mountain, where Lorylyn and Cade talk about her relationship w/ Brady and whether to move to New York

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looking the other direction from Buffalo Bill’s grave at the top of Lookout Mountain

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the creepy bronco statue at DIA…just google “Denver airport conspiracy theories” ๐Ÿ™‚ love this thing!

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My brother Josh and me at the summit of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park…it tops out at just over 12,000 feet and is the highest stretch of paved highway in the country! This is where Zibby and DJ go for a weekend shortly after moving to Denver, while Lorylyn is in Florida for Jill’s wedding. Another fun fact…for every 1000 feet of altitude gained, the temperature drops as much as every 600 miles driven north…so going up this road from where it starts at 7500 feet to here, just over 12,000, is like driving to the arctic circle in an hour ๐Ÿ™‚

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Josh and me in Vail. The house in the background is like I imagine the one to be where Lorylyn and her friends stay in Breck

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Colorado ski slope

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my 2nd time skiing…me and my friend Derick

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me and my Denver besties at the Coral Room, our favorite spot for Sunday Funday ๐Ÿ™‚

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another fabulous Sunday Funday at the Coral Room…read the dedication page in the book ๐Ÿ™‚

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Katy, Holly, and me…I had most of my craziest Denver adventures w/ these lovely ladies. They are the real-life Crissy and Taylor…fictionalized of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

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meet the real-life Winthrop Gilligan (but also fictionalized, of course) ;)…my other Denver bestie Speedy!!

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Katy, Holly, and me at a Rockies game at Coors Field ๐Ÿ™‚

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pretzel necklaces for the Great American Beer Fest

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at one of our favorite rooftop bars, which consisted of LoDo’s and the Tavern Downtown…this was LoDo’s

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author pic for the book, taken about a block away from my apartment at an outdoor fountain downtown

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another view of downtown

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16th Street Mall at sunset ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photo tour of my Denver world and gained some insight into Lorylyn, Taylor, Zibby, Crissy, Winthrop, and Brady’s Denver world too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Make sure to check out A Stranger Thing, if you haven’t already, to read much more about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

real pictures and places from a stranger thing…brussels!

A Stranger Thing has 4 major locations – Denver, Chicago, New York City, and Brussels. I thought it would be fun to share photos I took of places that inspired my writing in some of those cities! Today I am starting with Brussels, where my character Kella lives. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚ And click on Kella‘s name to read an interview with her!

The Manneken Pis, first site of Jansen and Jason's statue-dressing charade :)

The Manneken Pis, first site of Jansen and Jason’s statue-dressing charade ๐Ÿ™‚

Notice the "camera security" sign on the right. ;)

Notice the white “CAMERA SECURITY” sign on the right that you can barely see in this pic…enlarged view below ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Slightly weird? Sure. One of Brussels' major attractions? Obviously.

Slightly weird? Sure. One of Brussels’ major attractions? Obviously.

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The Jeanneke Pis, second site of the statue-dressing charade. Much more difficult to access than its counterpart :)

The Jeanneke Pis, second site of the statue-dressing charade. Much more difficult to access than its counterpart ๐Ÿ™‚

Jansen had to climb onto the base, then up the gate, then squeeze herself behind it. Easy. Good thing it was the middle of the night and snowy though, as everything you see around here is a bar

Jansen had to climb onto the base, then up the gate, then squeeze herself behind it. Easy. Good thing it was the middle of the night and snowy though, as everything you see around here is a bar

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Oh, and she also had to avoid the spikes at the top ๐Ÿ™‚

Classy :) Love it

In case you can’t tell, she is peeing too ๐Ÿ™‚

Sign next to the Jeanneke Pis in Delirium Village. All bars open till 6!

Sign next to the Jeanneke Pis in Delirium Village. All bars open till 6!

Best Beer in the World at the World Beer Fest in Chicago in 2008. Google it...or read what I wrote about it in the book. ;)

Best Beer in the World at the World Beer Fest in Chicago in 2008. Google it…or read what I wrote about it in the book. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The Grand-Place, where Lorylyn and the rest of the wedding guests go as part of their tour and later return for dinner, also considered as a wedding site for the book's royal wedding

The Grand-Place, where Lorylyn and the rest of the wedding guests go as part of their tour and later return for dinner, also considered as a wedding site for the book’s royal wedding

Grand-Place

Grand-Place

Grand-Place

Grand-Place

Grand-Place

Grand-Place

Kella's street, rue de la Perche, in Brussels' Saint-Gilles neighborhood. Her building is the white one straight ahead on the left as the street starts to curve

Kella’s street, rue de la Perche, in Brussels’ Saint-Gilles neighborhood. Her building is the white one straight ahead on the left as the street starts to curve

Close-up of Kella's building. The best part was while writing the first draft, I looked at a map, picked a random street in Saint-Gilles, and described her building as being white and on a corner of a street that curved uphill for 2 blocks and disappeared. When I went to Brussels 2 years later, this is what I found =D

Close-up of Kella’s building. The best part was while writing the first draft, I looked at a map, picked a random street in Saint-Gilles, and described her building as being white and on a corner of a street that curved uphill for 2 blocks and disappeared. When I went to Brussels 2 years later, this is what I found =D

street in Saint-Gilles, Kella's neighborhood

Another street in Saint-Gilles, Kella’s neighborhood

Actual site chosen for the book's wedding...and location of the last scene. Get ready...it's a cliffhanger, of course ;)

Brussels’ Royal Palace, the actual site chosen for the book’s wedding…and the location of the last scene. Get ready…it’s a cliffhanger, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you’ve enjoyed the photo tour of Kella and the other characters’ Brussels world! Coming soon…highlights of Denver, where Lorylyn, Zibby, Taylor, and Bradyย live, and my former city as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

taylor cren: character interview

In today’s A Stranger Thing character interview, you’ll be meeting Taylor! Taylor andย Lorylyn first meet shortly after Lorylyn arrives in Denver and is searching for roommates on Craigslist. Taylor has lived in Denver ever since college, but her current roommate and best friend Crissy is about to move in with a guy, so Taylor is on her own. Lorylyn’s roommate criteria include someone who’s either new to Denver like her or someone with an established life and fun friends, and Taylor seems like the latter. The two of them, as well as Crissy and Zibby, hit it off immediately, but even as she gets to know Taylor better, Lorylyn continues to be caught off guard by Taylor’s love life.

Taylor, one of the main characters in A Stranger Thing (doll created at dollzmania.net)

Taylor, one of the main characters in A Stranger Thing (doll created at dollzmania.net)

-Whatโ€™s your name?

~Taylor Cren

-How old are you?

~26

-Where do you live?

~Denver

-If you were an alcoholic beverage, which one would you be and why?

~Iโ€™d be a vodka soda because itโ€™s fun and classic and gets you going, just like I do. ๐Ÿ˜‰

-Whatโ€™s your biggest secret?

~Before the start of the book I donโ€™t really have any secrets. Shortly after I meet Lorylyn and we become roomies, this guy hurts me pretty badly but I donโ€™t tell anyone because no one even knows we were involved (except Crissy). I also do tend to date multiple guys at once and donโ€™t tell any of the guys there are others. ๐Ÿ™‚ Itโ€™s not like I give them any indication itโ€™s exclusive though, so thereโ€™s nothing wrong with that, right?! ๐Ÿ™‚

-Whatโ€™s the biggest surprise weโ€™ll see from you in A Stranger Thing (without giving too much away, of course)?

~Probably just things with guys that you donโ€™t necessarily see coming, because while I date a lot of guys, I donโ€™t always give the details, because sometimes they just donโ€™t matter. Or sometimes, they matter too much. But then other times, I give all the details. So I think thatโ€™s why people are surprised when they find out there was something they missed, or something I didnโ€™t tell, because they think they’ve heard the whole story.

-Whatโ€™s one thing that happens in A Stranger Thing that you would change, if you could (again, without giving too much away)?

~I wouldnโ€™t want to be separated from some of my friends at the end of the book!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Andโ€ฆIโ€™d probably avoid dating all those guys by being with the one I really like the most, if it was in my power to change that. Who knowsโ€ฆmaybe I can. Weโ€™ll seeโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‰

-Thanks, Taylor! Taylor is a new character in A Stranger Thing, but if you’d like to find out about some of the other characters prior to this book, check out All That Sparkles Isn’t Real Sapphire and I Don’t Want the Rest of Your Life. And make sure to read the other character interviews for A Stranger Thing: Lorylyn, Kylar, Zibby, Brady, and Xavier. Up tomorrow…Cade, Lorylyn’s ex-husband!