I’m in L.A., in the swank Beverley Meridian at Rodeo and Wilshire Drives (“the center of glamour and grandeur in Beverly Hills”): everything costs … lots. I’m not paying, but it irks me to sign a $38.62 bill for a simple continental breakfast with stale croissants. It’s 5:00 in the morning, and there’s no coffee pot in the room. I’m a captive to expensive room service.
I’ve learned a few things on this trip:
The Denver airport is one of the largest in the U.S., the size of Manhattan. The line to get to the first stage of security was 600 steps.
The Hotel Monaco chains are great: ecologically sensitive, designed for comfort. In Seattle, there was wine plus a free Tarot card reading in the hotel lobby at 5:00: so west coast.
The Trump Tower hotel in Chicago was the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at in my life: it sets a new standard for comfort. (Not only Starbucks coffee makings, but a fully equipped kitchen.)
In La Jolla, north of San Diego, the La Valencia hotel was a treat. My room—#922—must have been one of the best in the hotel, a corner room overlooking ocean on both sides. A complimentary fruit basket and bottle of Merlot on arrival, lovely restaurants and shopping close-by (not to mention the ocean)—I could have stayed there a week. The most welcome thing was to be able to open the doors onto the balcony, hear ocean and gulls, feel fresh air. I’ve come to miss that, living in hotel rooms.
This was the view from my hotel room in La Jolla:
One nice thing about my suite here in L.A. is that it opens onto a roof terrace. (Should security concern me?) I’m going to stop complaining about the expensive coffee and stale croissants and simply enjoy it. I’ve the day off, and I intend to spend it creatively.
Saturday was a long and challenging day, but the excellent co-ordination of my escorts—Larry and Ken—made it effortless.
It began in La Jolla, checking out of my hotel in gown.
Then, to the La Jolla Arts Festival, where Warwick’s bookstore had a booth set up. They’d never tried this, and I was their first test case. As always, it only takes one ardent fan to make an event worthwhile for me. (Too, meeting a man who lovingly restores and then sells antique cars, and uses the money to take a family off the street —to save them—three families so far. So moving.)
I changed out of my gown in a Whole Foods washroom, and then my escort Larry and I headed north. After about an hour, at a Barnes and Noble between La Jolla and Thousand Oaks, I was “handed over” to escort Ken. Then began the long drive to Thousand Oaks, for an event at an extraordinary Borders, a bookstore and coffee shop/restaurant in a former bowling alley.
There—hugables!—sister Robin, Betsy and Betsy’s mom Alma.
And “Ladies of The Book Club” (Pam Clark, Shari Mark, and Brenda Alibrandi sitting, Barbara Schwartz and Dawn Drost standing):
It was a wonderful event, in large measure due to the vibrancy and energy of the wonderful staff and great food:
And then the drive to glamorous Beverley Wilshire hotel in the heart of LA, where they did not have a room, so I had to “make do” with a large and sunny suite. I’m in LA for three nights: time enough to have The Gown sent to the laundry and to recharge all the batteries, including my own.
I’m in lovely Seattle now—such a beautiful city. They’ve had non-stop overcast skies and rain for weeks (months!), I’m told, and my event fell on the second day of sun, so I was surprised and pleased that some people came out to my reading.
One thing I’ve learned: when it comes to book events, there is always weather. It will invariably be too hot, too cold, too stormy, too wet or simply too nice for people to go out. (I don’t blame them: I’m the same way.) And if it isn’t the weather, there’s a sports event, a concert, or it’s grad night in town. So all the more reason to applaud the fans and friends and family who so loyally and enthusiastically show up … they make it so worthwhile.
Last night, I had the chance to see San Miguel friend Susan Rushton and her dear mother Ruby. Such a treat! As well, some truly ardent long-time fans. It was wonderful: virtual hugs to all.
Today I fly to San Diego. I’ve fought off a threatening cold (yay), but suffered my first injury: a wrenched left-hand. Thankfully not my signing hand. Fat Sharpies are excellent ergonomically in that respect: I feel I could sign books forever. In Sharpie fervor, I’ve now taken to offering readers a selection of colors: hot pink is the run-away favorite.
The Brown Palace in Denver featured high tea …
… and a fresh rose with each room service. By the end of my three-day stay I’d aquired a bouquet.
It was a two-and-a-half hour drive from Denver to Edwards, but well worth it. The Bookworm is one of the best bookstores I’ve seen, and they really know how to put on an event: great advertising, good wine, exceptionally tasty appetizers.
Okay, this may sound silly, but I discovered the first sign of their savvy advertising in the washroom:
What a perfect place for an ad! It’s a universal truth known to all bookstore owners that book browsing and the need to use a washroom are mysteriously yet biologically linked. (Seinfeld confirmed this in a skit.)
It was a great audience. Many of them had already read—and loved!—Mistress of the Sun.
There were 51 in attendance, a number of them from book clubs. Here is another mother/daughter portrait: Therese and her lovely daughter, Rachel.
Another mother told me that she was looking forward to going to Paris with her daughter. They had read the Trilogy and would be tracing Josephine‘s route. What did I suggest? I recommended that she read Walks through Napoleon & Josephine’s Paris by Diana Reid Haig. This is a gorgeous book, recently given to me by a very special person, Janet Park Datema (more on Janet later), in St. Louis. Another good guide I recommend to Trilogy tourists (of whom there are a number!) is You Go Girl Paris. The authors list many Josephine B. sites to see.
All-in-all, a fabulous evening! Thank you, Bookworms all.