Friday, November 20, 2009

Off to Hollywood

What a summer! Seems like the months disappeared on me. I had a marvelous September. Join me as I travel west to California during the first part of the month.

I attended a great Women Writing the West conference in Los Angeles on the UCLA campus. What a huge campus. Joyce Lohse, another great writer, and I roomed together at Covel Commons. The campus was beautiful and flowers blooming in all of the outside, well-kept planter boxes. The college grounds and rooms were immaculate. What an extraordinary place to hold a conference. I had an opportunity to meet with Elizabeth Trupin-Pulli, a great agent, and to talk with Kathi Fong Yoneda, an independent script consultant. Both ladies were
open to discussing marketing and publishing books in today's economic situation.

Another plus for the conference were the extremely informative workshops led by acknowledgeable speakers. I came back ready to plunge back into writing my next novel. Just around the corner from the workshops, were the open bookstore with so many of our published authors' books available for sale. Many of them finalist and winners of our prestigious WILLA award. What a decision, so hard to make a selection.

One afternoon we enjoyed a tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We walked the famous shopping area of Rodeo Drive and saw the glamours Beverly Wilshire Hotel where Pretty Woman was filmed with Julia Roberts. The hotel is lovely, surrounded by trees and blue and white awnings. In the lobby of the hotel hangs a poster stating, 'Pretty Woman Hotel'. The shops on Rodeo Drive were out of this world as were their prices. There were Armani, Cartier, Fendi, all the elaborate stores just to name a few. Some of the stores require their customers to make reservations in order to shop. In addition, there is privacy parking below some of the stores for those special patrons to help avoid the paparazzi. How's that for luxury.

Next we drove through the streets of the magnificent stars' homes. Huge, well barricaded houses with tennis courts, swimming pools and multiple garages for their Mercedes and Ferraris. Some on five acres of land, all well-manicured. Then on to the Grauman Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Boulevard. We walked the sidewalks of the stars, stepping on Marilyn Monroe, Mary Pickford, Michael Jackson and other foot and hand prints imprinted in the cement. People, dressed in costumes of Dark Vader, Spiderman, and Indiana Jones, walked among the sightseers in front of the theatre. Dark Vader used his lightsaber to fight with another character as Spiderman did his special foot maneuvers, dashing about the area. A very interesting day.

On Sunday before all the writers left, we took a lovely tour of the Getty Museum Gardens. The formal landscaping designs were breathtaking as was the view from high up on the mountain. The overlook was outstanding.

After the conference, I took a detour to Utah to stay with a very dear friend, Alice Trego, and her husband, Jim. We drove from Los Angeles, across the dessert, through Las Vegas, and over mountains. What a great adventure. Alice and I spent quality time together reminiscing about past conferences we had shared and about our writing experiences. One day we rode TRAX, the light rail system, into Salt Lake proper and did some genealogical research at the library. The Mormom church complex was absolutely gorgeous. We walked the garden path between and around the beautiful white buildings, enjoyed the scenery, and then hurried back to the rail before it rained.

It's time to leave my tales of adventure. Hope you enjoyed my journey during the first part of September. Next, we'll journey the last part of September from Florida to St. Louis, Missouri and travel the road north. So, grab a good book, sit back and take in the holiday spirit. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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