One comment: Driving on the top of big cliffs is scary. And pretty. But the last thing I wanted to do was look.
OK, so California is beautiful. I'd flown through LA one time, and once I made it to Tahoe, but other than that, I've never seen the state. So after my overnight stay with sister-in-law and niece, I headed down to Big Sur Friday morning. Accompanying me on my journey was an excellent audiobook - "A Great and Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray. Can you say fantastic?
I lucked into a room by myself as my roommate got double booked. OK, so my cabin was at the very corner of the place, and there was a total blackout one night, but my doors had locks, so aside from creepy horror movie recollections, I felt safe.
My schedule for the weekend included group critique sessions with Catherine Ryan Hyde (author of Pay it Forward and like a gazillion more awesome books), Laura Rennert (agent at Andrea Brown), and Jamie Weiss Chilton (agent at Andrea Brown). I also had a one-on-one critique with author Eric Elfman who'd pre-read my first 20 pages.
Can I say the feedback I got was incredible, I made great improvements on my manuscript, and I met so many nice people.
If you can make it to this workshop, go!
Possible highlight of the trip? Filling up my rental car gas tank at 5:30 in the morning Monday and having a guy at the pump next to me tell his friend on the cell phone, "Man, this girl just got out of her car at 5:30 in the morning to fill up her tank, and she sure is pretty." I kind of smile, and he says "Girl, you sure wake up looking good."
OK, sounds creepier than it was. There were plenty of people around, and let's face it. I'm a married 37 year-old woman with 2 kids. It's nice to have a random stranger tell you you're pretty even when you haven't showered and have no makeup on.