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My idea of the perfect vacation

I was on the plane, halfway to LA, when things clicked: I was flying to my first-ever book signing. I felt like a rock star!

ladyeuthanasia called as I was walking through the airport. We linked up easily and then it was off to her lovely home, where the even lovelier Frenchman made lamb chops for lunch, complemented by heaps of kale with garlic and a wonderful red wine. I could not have felt more spoiled.

All of my fuss over what to wear didn't work out the way I'd planned. I was going for middle-aged goth butch, but it was freezing in the bookstore and I had to wear my sweater, so I ended up looking all mom-style. Oh well. People bought the book anyway.

I should have prepared something clever to say in the books I inscribed. I wish my signature was as stylish as Maria's. But I sold some chapbooks and basked in the glow of faustfatale in high noir drag, complete with veiled-black velvet cap. Del and Sue were wonderful, as always. I even found a copy of Girls & Corpses at last. Sue's selection of cemetery books was as good as I remembered, but I restrained myself. As charnelmason said, I was there to sell books, not buy them.

To that end, we signed all the Sirens books there were to be signed. Let me gush that Sins of the Sirens is a truly beautiful book, glossy and black as I prefer, but highlighted by author photos were my butch worked much, much better. I haven't gotten far into the text yet -- Maria's first story got me too wound up to finish reading, once I'd boarded the plane home -- but oh my! I can't wait to hear what you think.

After the reading, cinriter joined us for an early dinner. The specials card on the table featured absinthe at $7.50 a glass (about what we paid for a bottle in Prague), but no one else was drinking, so I behaved. Still, absinthe at a burger joint? What is the world coming to?

At loose ends after dinner, Maria and I rushed out to see The Orphanage. 1) Me at an evening movie? I don't think that's happened since The Two Towers came out. 2) $10 for an evening movie? Pasadena must be a company town. 3) The director leaned on too many loud bangs, designed to make you jump. 4) The movie still made me tear up at the end. Maybe that's a mom reaction. The opposite mom reaction I had was that I wouldn't have waited seven months to call in psychics if I thought my kid had been abducted by ghosts. 5) Is it a happy ending if the pov character is the only one who's happy at the end? 6) The best and spookiest part of the evening was trading ghost stories with Ms. Euthanasia around her kitchen table afterward.

Sunday continued the flood of wonderful. There was brunch -- and food porn, if I can figure out how to upload the photos -- and a collection of antique Halloween postcards. Much talking about writing, where I had the sense to shut up and listen. Once again, I was the only one drinking and my Irish Kiss was not the coffee drink I expected to see, but yum anyway. It was a pleasure to meet Lisa's friend R.

With some time to kill before my flight home, Maria chauffeured me to Our Lady of the Angels. We arrived as the Spanish-language mass was letting out, so we had the cavernous cathedral more or less to ourselves. Thanks to the luminous stone windows, it's the brightest church I've been in since Sainte-Chapelle. We poked around the honey-colored crypt, admiring the painted glass windows. There's a lot of room for bodies down there. The sanctuary provided a peaceful place to have a leisurely discussion about losing our faith.

As we headed back to the highway, we drove past the bar which is the model for Lost Angels. I was giddy with the realization that it's practically in the shadow of the cathedral. Gonna have to note that in the succubus book!

It could not have been a better trip. And I have a signed copy of Sins of the Sirens to show for it.