Friday, November 10, 2006

Hooray for HOLLYWOOD! (part 2)


Before arriving in LA, I drove to San Diego, where my sister (not the one I write with – the other one!) had baked up a storm in preparation for an evening reading/signing at Mysterious Galaxy.


The staff, Patrick and Sam, made me feel so welcome and explained that since the store was turning 13 they were having a sort of bar mitzvah, and were donating a portion of the evening’s proceeds to local charities in my name. What a wonderful thing to do! There was only a small group in attendance, but they bought lots of books and peppered me with questions…or at least they let me go on and on about art forgery, one of my favorite topics.

One man who came for the talk is dubbed “Signing Bob,” because he tries to attend each signing of every author he likes. He had a fabulous smile and an impressive collection of signatures. He said meeting authors was much more interesting than watching TV, and he always learned something. In the LA area, I attended a signing (along with Rhys Bowen and Gay Kinman) at Book ‘Em, a charming mystery bookstore in South Pasadena. I had met the owner, Jean Utley, at the LA Festival of Books last spring, so I was thrilled to renew our acquaintance in a more tranquil setting. There was a football game, so we didn’t get much foot traffic, but it was a great chance to speak with Jean and Mary and a lovely reader named Wilhelmina (what a great name!). The Sisters in Crime conference itself took place primarily at the Writers’ Guild (West), on Third Street, directly across from the Farmers’ Market and The Grove.


The Grove is a sleek conglomeration of pricey retail stores surrounding a fountain with dancing water jets, a la the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It is a lovely monument to consumerism…but being the kind of gal I am, I much preferred the old-fashioned Farmers’ Market. Chock-full of stalls offering everything from produce to pharmaceuticals to hot sauces, the Farmers’ Market was the happening place for an informal dinner to be enjoyed outdoors in LA’s famously temperate evening air. There were stands with Brazilian barbeque, sushi, crepes, falafel, dolmas, burritos, pizza, ice cream, and handmade chocolates. I also got the distinct impression that a lot of L.A.-style deals were sealed over a drink at the outdoor bar…but maybe that was my imagination run wild. Still, there were a few celebrity sightings in those crowded, food-filled alleys….

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