Monday, April 12, 2010

Wickedly Resting

It’s kinda fatal to stop. You lose your momentum. You let fatigue creep in, and you lose the will to go on.

That’s a little what this weekend has been like.

Friday was a coming down day after the long drive on Thursday, and the adventure in the dark finding our condo. Sadly, Newport Beach seemed to have reserved its worst weather of the year for our short stay here. It was cloudy, dull, even chilly.

Lunch at my favourite seafood restaurant, The Crab Cooker, was first item on the agenda. It is always like stepping back into the 50s, a little piece of vintage Americana preserved in aspic. Plastic cutlery, wine out of plastic cups. Simple, unpretentious shrimp and scallops and salmon and crab cakes.

I love it!

A wonderful, cobweb-clearing cycle along the boardwalk, watching the Easter hordes on the beach, was just what the doctor ordered. Then it was on to the home of old friends, Rob and Linda - Susie’s former neighbours from the house at Dolphin Terrace, which featured in my standalone thriller, “Virtually Dead”.

It was their last weekend in their rented apartment before moving into their new home at the exclusive One Ford Road development near Fashion Island. We had aperitifs and appetisers before heading out to a nearby Italian restaurant for dinner. We saw them again, just two days later, as they took possession of their new home (which we christened with champagne) - a fabulous three-bedroomed villa with courtyards and decks, and a three-car garage in a street that looked like a set straight out of a movie.

Saturday was tough. I had to wind myself up again for another two events. The first was a one-and-a-half hour drive to the city of Thousand Oaks, just north of Los Angeles, to be greeted Alan Chisholm, owner of the Mysteries to Die For bookstore, and a group of regulars who had come to hear me speak.

After allowing myself to relax for a day it was hard to get myself going again. But once I started it was fine, and I ended the event by signing huge piles of books.

Lunch at Chilli’s, then on the road again to Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Mystery Bookstore at Westwood. Although I was there just for a stock signing, I got into conversation with some die-hard fans. Tim arrived with a huge pile of my books to sign, and to my astonishment was able to quote passages from various novels I had written over the years.

Another fan who showed up was called 50 Winx - her Second Life name. A university librarian, she is a stalwart of the group, Librarians of Second Life, and had actually attended one of my inworld presentations. So I signed the book from Flick Faulds.

Bookstore owner, Bobby McCue, had me sign several piles of China Thrillers, Enzo Files, and Virtually Deads, before we set off again along Wilshire Boulevard in search of the home of our old French neighbours who live in Beverly Hills. A mis-turn led us on to Walden Drive, to be confronted by an extraordinary Hansel and Gretel house on the junction of the street. Turns out it was built for a movie in the 1920s, and has been used as a real home in several different locations since. It was in the process of being prepared for yet another move, and is known universally in the neighborhood as The Witch’s House.

John and Bettie Jensen live on Benedict Canyon Drive, and we met up with them there before heading off to a little French bistro off Sunset Boulevard, with daughter Elizabeth, who had so kindly provided a bed for us in Minneapolis.

Then the long drive back in the dark to Newport Beach, and the best and longest sleep of the tour so far.

Sunday, I never really got out of first gear. The weather was grim. Drizzly dull, the ocean leaden. We ate at Chimayo’s at Huntington Beach, and later feasted on a take-out Chinese meal from P.F. Chang’s that night while watching a movie on the giant TV in the condo.

Today I am having to rev myself up again, write the blog, and prepare for the drive south to San Diego, and an event at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. Before that we will eat with my good friend and pathology adviser Steve Campman, who is the Medical Examiner in the city. I’m really looking forward to that.

Then tomorrow, everything must be packed up again and stowed in the car for the drive east, stopping first at Palm Desert, before heading for Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, and an appointment with a radio journalist from Austria who wants me to do a live interview from within Second Life.

No rest for the wicked!

1 comment:

DJ Kirkby said...

The food sounds yummy, the driving less so. Hope it's warmer in Palm Beach!