Monday, April 07, 2008

Literary Orange

Patty here…

On Friday, I checked into the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove, California, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from "The Happiest Place on Earth"—Disneyland. I was there to participate in the überfaboo Literary Orange presented by the Orange County Library and the UC Irvine Libraries.

The event was on Saturday, but I stayed overnight at the hotel on Friday because I had dinner with event organizers and keynote speaker, Elizabeth George. Nothing lifts your spirits like hanging out with a famous author and a group of jolly librarians.

Approximately 400 booklovers attended Literary Orange. I was on a panel called “Murder Comes Softly” with Earlene Fowler, Sue Ann Jaffarian, and Denise Hamilton. Sue Ann won the “best excuse for showing up late” award. On the way to the hotel, her car caught fire and burned to a crisp. She would have escaped injury except for a last minute dive into the flames to retrieve her Dooney & Burke tote bag, a stunt that netted her a cut on the thumb. (A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.) I saw a picture of her car. It looked something like this:

Also on the slate was “The Art of Mayhem” with SoCal crime writers Jan Burke, Denise Hamilton, Naomi Hirahara, and Gay Kinman. The talented and amusing Tod Goldberg moderated a panel called “Hollywood: Real and Reel with Stephen Cannell, John Gilmore, and Frank Thompson. In addition, there were also panels on non-fiction and romance writing, children’s literature, science fiction, and more.

The afternoon keynote speaker was Janet Fitch, who inspired me with an animated and entertaining story about her 12-year journey to achieve “overnight” success in publishing.

Despite taking my camera and vowing to snap dozens of pictures, I came home with only one.

Elizabeth George, Naomi Hirahara, and Denise Hamilton

There was so much going on that I didn’t spend much time in my hotel room, but the experience got me thinking about what I like and don’t like about hotel sleepovers.

Things I like about hotel rooms:

  • Clean white towels, the scratchy kind that abrade your skin like a loofa
  • Trying out soaps with interesting combinations that you wouldn't think to buy for yourself
  • Lighted magnifying makeup mirrors on swinging arms attached to the wall
  • A view of any water other than the local sewage treatment plant

Things I don’t like about hotel rooms:

  • Tight sheets that squeeze your chest like a straight jacket
  • Imagining the consequences of your bare feet touching the carpet
  • Key cards that don’t open your door or expire before you’ve checked out
  • A view of the parking lot, unless your only choice is between looking at cars or the local sewage treatment plant

Got any pet peeves about hotel sleepovers?

Happy Monday!


  1. Go-Lo....glad you had fun on your excursion ..............The only horror story regarding hotels that I Know:
    I knew a guy who's wife left him and moved to a hotel ....cost him a small fortune ....and it even overlooked an airshaft.......Oh well, surely he ended up paying a lot more than that...But I digress.

    I like the way some hotels make "stuffed animal" like things with the towels; and I hate it if the water pressure is poor. Love those little shampoos and such; hate thinking about what's really on the carpet or bedspread.

    My travel tip: bring your own "energy bars" and "Voss water." Eat and drink the ones in the wet bar and then replace it with the stuff you've brought. It's decedent.....eating a $5 candybar while drinking a $15 water !!


  2. If you're driving, pack a portable air humidfier, because no matter what time of the year, hotel air is arid, arid, arid. Enough to dry you out that you pick up a bug or a sinus infection. Urk. Been there, done that.

    Just got back from really jolly SF convention in Memphis. People were great, the food was awful. We sent out for pizza and subway sandwiches over the weekend. And yes, the hotel air was bad, and I dried out so much, despite massive quantities of bottled water, that I got up in the middle of the night and filled up the bathtub with hot water run through the shower: aerates the moisture and sets it off into the air. Slept much better after that.

    Oh, yes: take snacks and munchies!

    I don't often worry about the view - quite often, we never get a choice. However, I must say that we've had a few really nice ones over the years, but equally viewed the parking lot or brick wall as well. :-D

    Happy Monday, everybody. :-D


  3. I love events like that. One of my favorites is called Bookmania at the Stuart, Florida library.


  4. Oh you're so lucky! I love Elizabeth George.

  5. Jon, I LOVE towel origami. In fact, there's a book that tells you how to fold your very own towels into little monkeys. Marianne, this hotel had a pizza parlor in the lobby! Portable food. Yay! You must come to LO next year, James O. You'll love it. They'll love you. Cozy Crime, I never tire of hearing EG speak. She's fascinating.

  6. My hotel faves: Room service. Maid service.

    My hotel pet peeve: Windows that can't open.

    But do be wary of checking into a hotel within 50 miles of your home. Your credit card company makes note of it, and your credit rating is docked a few points, as they believe it indicates a divorce will occur in your near future.

  7. Holy cow, Louise! Are you serious? Even if you check in with your spouse?

  8. I adore hotels, especially the fancy ones.

    Love: Room service, on-demand movies, giant bathrooms.

    Become extremely crabby when faced with: Things that don't function properly, i.e. TVs that don't work, esp in aforementioned fancy hotels; bugs; inefficient service. If I'm going to pay top dollar, there had better be no mistakes.


  9. Giant bathroom. Yes, there's that.

  10. Love:
    King-sized beds (I'm 6'3")

    Non-smoking rooms that still reek.

    Knowing the bedspreads are rarely washed

    Checking in alone.

  11. Patty, yep, I'm sure about that credit rating thing. Got it straight from an insurer who uses the data as well.