Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At Long Last ... Blog!

Bless me, bloggers, for I have sinned ... it has been mmmpfh (hand over mouth) days since my last blog.

Much has happened, and I'm going to spend a couple of days catching up. I finished my third novel, which is the main reason I haven't been hanging around Writing in the Dark. My third is a big dark book set in 1940 San Francisco, and I needed to complete it before Bouchercon. I managed to do so, but literally had no time left over for blogging, reading, email, eating a proper meal, and sleep. I left bread crumbs of my activities on Twitter, and plan to stick to my regularly scheduled blogging programming from now on, though life may somtimes pre-empt me.

I traveled to LA and San Diego and back on a book tour ... via US 101 ... a wonderful trip along El Camino Real, the old historic route of the King's Highway, mission to mission, bell to bell. Salinas lettuce fields (Salad Capital of the World!), the Santa Ynez mountains ... the drive makes you appreciate the the real gold of California, and it's not the yellow stuff in vaults.

Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks and The Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles are fantastic places to shop and spend time and meet people. Alan and Bobby are absolutely wonderful ... and two reasons why I love to support independent bookstores as both a reader and a writer. I was privileged to appear at both stores, and very happy to be The Mystery Bookstore's Discovery Club pick of the month.

I met friends from Crimespace and Sisters in Crime, including my author friend Mari Sloan, who has written a terrific mystery (Beaufort Falls), and Mari's wonderful husband, and Travis Richardson, former NorCal MWA member who just moved south. Spent a delightful evening with producer/director/screenwriter pal Victoria Larimore in West Hollywood. Stopped along the way in Salinas, ate a fantastic breakfast at Sang's Cafe (where Steinbeck used to throw one back occasionally), and lunch in Solvang at the Little Mermaid.

We eventually managed to thread our way through Malibu Canyon, Malibu and Santa Monica before taking rest in our favorite SoCal home away from home, The Culver Hotel.

After a signing at the Gaslamp Borders in San Diego, we headed home the next morning, and breakfasted at Andersen's Pea Soup in Buellton (a few miles from Solvang) ... you haven't lived until you've tried pea soup for breakfast! You get eggs and Danish sausage and pancakes, too, but that soup ... mmm. :) Late lunch was again in Salinas, at a terrific newly-opened restaurant (family-owned) called Habanero. Literally the best beans and rice I've had since undergraduate years in Texas.

Oh, and Solvang? You haven't eaten Danish until you eat Danish there. Really. We're talking melt-in-your mouth, light-as-air crust, real fruit filling ... let's just say this was a memorable trip on every level, and I can't wait to get back. :)

So then I wrote. And wrote and wrote. And finished what I call "my Bouchercon baby," a novel begun after Alaska and finished before Baltimore.

And speaking of Baltimore, host city for this year's Bouchercon ... well, that deserves its own post. Be back tomorrow with more on Charm City and 1,400 reasons why the crime/mystery/thriller writer life is the one for me!