City of Dragons – City of Angels Tour!

Today I’m blogging from San Diego, where I’m looking forward to a signing at the fabulous Mysterious Galaxy!

Time is whizzing by, calendar pages flipping in a black and white montage … it seems like just yesterday (well, OK, the day before the day before yesterday) that we drove to LA.

The drive down was beautiful (not many rain showers, despite prediction of thunder and hail), and we enjoyed a requisite stop for caffeine rejuvenation in Salinas for breakfast and spit pea soup rejuvenation at Andersen’s Pea Soup restaurant in Buellton, outside Solvang.

BTW–danish is Solvang is really Danish–and utterly delightful. One of the pleasures of driving down Highway 101, amid the stately mission bells along the old El Camino Real.

We stayed at the Culver Hotel–a queen among hostelries, and right next to the Culver Studios (formerly RKO, Selznick and part of MGM). Who wouldn’t want to stay in a beautifully refurbished historic hotel, with a great bar, food menu and the magic ambiance of former guests like Clark Gable and Judy Garland? (The Culver Studio’s main building is the columned mansion seen in the Selznick opening credits of Gone With the Wind).

On Wednesday, we drove to South Pasadena and Book ‘Em Mysteries, where we met Jean, the indefatigable and fabulous Chair of the upcoming Left Coast Crime conference, and signed copies of City of Dragons. Afterward a great visit and some good Mexican food across the street, it was onward to Pasadena and Vroman’s, where I got all goose-bumply seeing City on the IndieNext Wall and the New and Noteworthy front table!

Next, we drove to our “neighborhood” Barnes and Noble in Marina del Rey (close to Culver City) and signed stock. And from there, I enjoyed the rather surreal experience of seeing my book on the New Arrivals table at the gigantic theme-park like Barnes and Noble in The Grove, near the Farmer’s Market and the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. Posters advertising upcoming signings for Raquel Welch and Melissa Rivers, etc. were all over the place, and the whole thing was, well … very Hollywood … in a retail Disneyland sort of way. 😉

Thursday was wonderful–I had a signing at Mysteries to Die For, in lovely Thousand Oaks, and seeing Alan at this wonderful store is always a treat! Another treat was the tea room/cafe/chocolatier across the street–Chocolatine. Owned and operated by French chef Hugo, this was some of the best quiche — and best chocolate! — I’ve ever had. If you’re ever in Thousand Oaks, shop at Alan’s and try the chocolate! 🙂

Later in the evening, we capped off the LA tour with a heartwarming event at the marvelous Mystery Bookstore!! I love the staff–Linda, Bobby, Ingrid and Emily–and friends came out to officially welcome me to the City of Angels. Angels themselves (though of the crime fiction writing devilish kind), Brett Battles, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Eric Stone and Holly West reminded me why this is the best business to be in — it’s the company you keep! 🙂 Thanks, guys!!

This morning, we headed down to San Diego, stopping at a just reopened very swanky restaurant in Oceanside called The Flying Bridge. And when I say swanky, I mean swanky–the architecture looks like Frank, Dean and Sammy could’ve eaten lunch here on the way to the track at Del Mar.

The food was delicious, the service superb (ask for Summer–she’s a great waitress!) and all in all, I highly recommend it.

So that’s the LA rap-up–next blog will be our San Diego sojourn and next stop will be Scottsdale and the fabulous Poisoned Pen bookstore! Thanks for reading!