Saturday, October 23, 2010

West Coast Tour

As promised, I'm going to write about my mini tour in sunny California.  It was pouring rain in Pennsylvania when we flew out - we, as in me, my daughter Jenna and my niece Amy.  Jenna was going to miss four days of school, so she had a ton of school work to take along.  She's in 7th grade.  We flew into Los Angeles and Daniel directed us to our hotel in Glendale.  Daniel is my GPS - it's a Garmin and you can choose which "voice" you want and I picked the British Daniel.  Something about the British accent sounds

Our first full day we had breakfast with Alethea and her husband.  Can anyone tell me which of my books, Alethea is mentioned??  The real lady works at the Borders in Glendale and she has been a dynamo in hand selling my books and I'm not talking a few copies, but hundreds.  Maybe even over a thousand - it's been about two years.  The picture below is from the last time I was in Glendale for a STORM GLASS release party - April 2009:

After breakfast, we went to Hollywood, baby!  Saw all the sights, Hollywood sign, stars on the sidewalk, the Chinese Theater, and went in the Hollywood Museum.  I really liked the Hollywood museum, they had a ton of props from movies and stars.  The prison block from the movie Silence of the Lambs was in the basement...creepy!! I also learned about Max Factor - he's a real guy and basically invented make up - I never knew that.  I also had to take a picture of Russell Crow's star for my mother.  She is obsessed with him and thinks he should play Valek if there's ever a movie made of my books (no news about that - there has been zero interest from Hollywood).  Here are pictures:

Friday night I had a signing at Glendale Borders. Alethea couldn't make this signing, but there were plenty of people from all over CA. I talked about my books and signed copies.  Here's a picture from the signing:

Jane, one of the Study Buddies moderators on is next to me on the right.  Jane's also been wonderful about recommending my books.

Saturday - I left Amy and Jenna at Laguna Beach. Poor girls all by themselves had to lie on the beach, go swimming, make sand sculptures, and go shopping - they were bored without me :)  Mean while I was having fun at the Mysterious Galaxy Book Store in San Diego.  One of the best independent book stores in the US - they specialize in SF and Fantasy books.  The traffic from LA to SD was horrible, and an hour-long trip took me almost 2.  Locals told me that while in other places people might talk about the weather, people in CA talk about traffic!  I see why - it's a whole other entity - I think it's self-aware.

When I arrived at Mysterious Galaxy, about 5 minutes late, there were about 30 people waiting for me!  All sitting in front of a podium! I talked about my books and cracked some jokes.  I had many dedicated readers there - I mentioned one of my other POISON STUDY covers and about 10 people pulled out the old covers and the new covers so we could compare.

Even though there were a bunch of loyal readers like Chocoholic from Goodreads (she brought me chocolate - of course!  It didn't make it...home), I met my most dedicated reader of all.  I know a bunch of you are saying, "Now, wait a minute Maria, I'm your most...."  Sorry, but Sami drove all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah to San Diego, CA to see me.  12 hours one way - by herself!!  24 total hours in the car in one weekend.  That's dedication!  Second place for the title would be the two ladies who drove 8 hours one-way from Vermont to Pennsylvania to attend my writing workshop last month.  Third is a group of college students from Muncie, Indiana who drove to Pittsburgh to see me (about 5 hours),  Fourth goes to a lady who flew from Texas to attend a conference I was at, and Fifth place goes to Jessica who flew from St. Louis, MO to Pittsburgh with her mom to see me.  It's not really a contest - I'm just amazed by their willingness to come long distances to see me.  And y'all know you are all equally loved :)  Here's a picture of me (with my hair up) and Sami:

Sunday of my tour I attended the Orange County Children's Book Festival and did a reading on the Teen Stage, followed by a signing (Mysterious Galaxy maned the booth).  It was a lovely day and a lovely festival.  The Teen stage was popular and a few of the authors had long signing lines.  I met Becca Fitzpatrick, who wrote Hush, Hush and Crescendo, Nancy Holder, who wrote The Wicked series with her writing partner Debbie Vigiue.  Nancy also wrote over 30 Buffy the Vampire Slayer books and I love Buffy!  I also met Emma Michaels, author of The Thirteenth Chime, and Lisa Desrochers who wrote Personal Demons! They were all super nice - and we hung out and chatted books and writing, exchanging info and ideas :)  From everything I've heard, the festival was a big success!  Here's a picture:

Becca Fitzpatrick is the lady with the sunglasses and Nancy Holder is wearing the black hat! rained :(  That was the day for me and Amy and Jenna to go to the San Diego Zoo.  It's legendary - and when we arrived, it poured.  We debated outside the gate and one of the workers said that the rain might be bad for us, but the animals loved this weather and would be out and active.  So we went in.  I also helped that for the month of October kids 12 and under were free :)  Despite the rain, we had a great time.  It is a fantastic zoo and I would recommend it to anyone who is visiting San Diego - it's huge and the areas for the animals were big and clean. 

The only thing I didn't like was the tour buses driving around.  You can take the bus and just sit and visit all the areas without having to walk. And when the bus gets to an area, it sits there, idling while the tour guide talks.  Now, I know not everyone is mobile and the place is huge, but the buses were a distraction and the noise and exhaust seemed out of place.  

My favorite animal to see were the Koala bears - they were so cute and small!  I always thought they were bigger.  Of course by this time the battery on my camera had died.  And Jenna's did, too.  Amy had juice, and below you'll see the Koala pictures from Amy and some others:

Alethea gave us this umbrella on Friday and it was sunny and beautiful and I was thinking we wouldn't need it - I was wrong! Bright orange was a great color, I could spot Jenna anywhere in the zoo :)

My daughter loves, loves, loves Pandas! She took this picture.


 Koalas!!  So CUTE!!

The Zebras were having fun - fighting and running around in the rain. 

That's about it.  We flew home on Tuesday.  My son who had stayed home with my husband, until dh had to leave for Canada, was actually home alone for two nights.  At 15, he's old enough, but I worried.  We I got home, the house was intact, but the basement had flooded (from all that rain on the Thursday before we left - not his fault, but still bad timing), the litter box was full and stinky, the trash hadn't been taken out, and the cat was very hungry.  Might be awhile before he's left home alone again :)


  1. AHHH My name and picture are in your blog. XD Yay! I still can't believe you called me your most dedicated fan! ^_^ It wasn't that bad of a drive, really. Except for the construction in Nevada, everything went smoothly and I had a BLAST!!! SO glad you came out to Cali! XD Can't wait to see you again!

    And it looks like you and the girls and lots of fun.

  2. It sounds like you had a fabulous time! ^_^ Not to mention a busy time, too! At least you were able to have a nice balance of work and play time. I do believe that Alethea is in Storm Glass, though it's been awhile since I've read it. Might have to re-read it to make sure, not that I mind. ^_~ From what you said about Mysterious Books, it sounds a lot like Book People in Austin, Texas (which you should really visit if you're ever in Texas again). All the pictures are great, and it looks like you had a wonderful time.

  3. So glad you had a great time while you were here. It was so great to meet you and hear you talk about your work. Glad you enjoyed the chocolate too! I was thinking it was kind of silly to get you chocolate when you probably have an unlimited supply from the chocolate taster! Oh well. My philosophy is that "too much" and "chocolate" don't ever belong in the same sentence. ;)

  4. HI Maria, I had an idea. It would be great if you wrote POISON STUDY, but the point of view of Valek. Because he is so mysterious, we would like to better understand

  5. Sounds like a fab trip! As an Aussie, I'm thrilled to see Koalas make an appearance on your blog. They ARE cute.

  6. That looks like a blast Maria! Now I definitely think you should come tour the South next time. Especially the Deep South ;)