Thursday, August 24, 2023


 Wendall -- every other Thursday

This week, my post is more pictures than words, as James and I are trying to both pack and unpack—our new apartment still resembles a bit of a bombsite and we are also getting ready for our trek to San Diego to see so many friends, authors, and readers at Bouchercon 2023. 



Right now, though, the thing I’m most looking forward to is staying in the hotel. 


Bouchercon's host hotel -- the Marriott Marquis!

I love hotels. Any hotel. Or motel, for that matter. I associate them with happy family vacations when my brother and sister and I were young—my Dad always made sure there was a pool and sprung for “Magic Fingers” just to watch us laugh. Once I had my driver’s license and could travel on my own, my heart leapt up every time I spotted a Motel 6, a Howard Johnson’s, or a Holiday Inn on 1-95 or the Jersey Turnpike.


Ice cream! Clams! Orange roof!

Seeing a hotel summons up my first visits to Europe, Australia, Santa Fe, San Francisco, and really, anywhere. For me, they scream travel, adventure, new restaurants, memorable sunburns, wake-up calls, free coffee and body lotions, and fresh sheets I will never have to wash.


When I worked on the film Young Guns, I lived in a hotel in Santa Fe for four months. I was in heaven.


Charlie Sheen once climbed into my room from this balcony, to hide from double-booked girlfriends...

Now that I’m a writer, hotels are still where I do my best work. I almost always go away alone at the beginning, middle, and end of every book, for the concentrated time I can create in a hotel room and its surrounding restaurants and bars, where I can work over coffee or a glass of wine. 


Here are my favorite places in Carpinteria.


Corktree Cellars.

Spaghetti and meatballs and notebook at Little Dom's.

Esau's great breakfast. Michael McDonald eats there. The back of his head is below.

There are a few hotels I’ve gone enough times, that they actually will always give me my “lucky” room, since, like many writers, I’m superstitious about things like that. So today, I’m going to share a few images of my hotel writing life in two LA-adjacent hotels, in Downtown LA and Carpinteria.


Here are a couple of photos from my "lucky room" in Carp.



 I love to write on the balcony, even when it's freezing in the morning.

And for "staycation" writing, the Westin Bonaventure is my favorite. They also always give me my favorite room...


By (obviously windy) day.

By night.

These are a few of the everchanging views from my lucky room.



And a few shots of the space age interior.



All the rooms are octagonal.

And some of my haunts when I actually leave the room...

Nick & Stef's for their Oaxacan Old Fashioned.

Drago for happy hour wine.

And when I'm really splurging, Bottega Louis, for the most expensive pizza in the world.

I'm sure more wonders await us all in San Diego, and will report back about Bouchercon, and its host hotel, the Marriott Marquis, when next we convene.


Here is my Appearance Schedule there, if anyone wants to stop by and say hello:


Wednesday night Aug. 30 8:30pm  Check schedule for location



Thursday Aug. 31 at 7am(!) North Tower Pacific Ballroom 15-17


HUMOR AND HOMICIDE: How Authors Kill At Both

Saturday Sept. 2 at 1:05 Rm 3 GB 3

--- Wendall


  1. Wendall! I am just outside Rehoboth DE in an indifferent Holiday Inn and was feeling blah about having a long day passing before my 6:30 pm event in Philadelphia. Your post inspired me to use every minute of the morning stay in this place to write. Thank you for the boost, and I am sorry I won't be at Bouchercon this year to see you!

  2. Sujata-- how lovely of you to write this. I was feeling like my post was a bit "lite," today, but if it gets you writing, I feel a lot better. Have a wonderful writing/resting day (hotels are also great for naps), and a packed event. xx

  3. Me too, Wendal! Before I began fiction, writing in earnest, during my career as a consultant, I was on the road 40 to 60% of the time. In those days, I was loath to eat out in restaurants, as a woman alone. That was when I would spend those lonely hours writing stories to amuse myself. Never did I think that I was practicing for my next career, if you could use such an important word to describe what I now do. I think a hotel room is a perfect place to write. You can call for room service, and they will bring you supper. A service writers at home, at least ordinary ones like me, can’t get.

  4. I love that the hotels were the beginning and agree on all counts, especially room service! x

  5. Bunhes of us are speed dating. See you there. AA

    1. Will be so great ot see you and everyone, Patricia!

  6. Nice post. Are you and James teaming at Speed Dating?

    1. Hi Dru Ann -- yes we are. Our first time, as I've always done it with Matt Coyle before. We'll see if we survive it!