There's nothing better than a contest to kick off the year! Here at Killer Fiction, we'd like to thank all of our readers for a fabulous 2010 and for helping us kick off 2011 in fine fashion. And what better way to kick off the New Year than with a contest. All the rules for the contest are on the sidebar, so read the rules and make sure you're entered to win. One grand prize winner will win a Kindle. IMPORTANT NOTE: All contest winners will be drawn at the end of the contest. So, if you didn't hear about the contest right away, don't despair - you can still go back to previous blog posts and enter. I’m giving away a $25 gift card to BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon.com - winner's choice AND an autographed copy of the first book in the Sophie Katz mystery series, Sex, Murder And A Double Latte! Winners will be notified at the end of the contest period.
Three years ago when I told people in and around my Bay Area home that I was moving to LA the most popular response was, "oh."
Sure, they told me they'd miss me and made me promise to come back to visit as much as possible but what really threw them was the fact that I was moving to a city that they considered to be akin to Dante's Inferno....or at least a version of Dante's Inferno in which the "dark woods" is replaced by a smog laden wasteland and the three beasts were not a lion, a leopard and a she-wolf but an unscrupulous agent, a coked-up-famous-for-being-famous reality star and a she-wolf....a she-wolf with plastic boobs, bright pink yoga pants and a botoxed forehead.
In contrast Southern Californians seem to have a soft spot for Northern California and always seem a little surprised when they learn that there's a one-way rivalry going on.
Anyway, when I threw my life in a U-Haul and headed down the 101 most of my friends pitied me. I pitied myself a bit too. How could I not be a tad apprehensive about moving to Malibu-Barbie-hell?
But then I discovered something truly shocking. I discovered that LA isn't that bad. In fact it's actually (dare I say it?) a fun place to live. There are street fairs aplenty. There's some really inspiring museums, awesome hiking trails, fun restaurants, cool lounges, a plethora of kid-friendly activities for my son and the weather is to die for. And when you have a city that attracts people from all over the world who want to make a living within the entertainment industry you end up with a city of extroverts. It is insanely easy to meet people in LA. My first week here I ended up going to a country club with a woman I met earlier that day at a bakery and then later my son and I went out to dinner with her and her husband. A few weeks after that I met a woman while checking out the Halloween decorations in her neighborhood. We chatted for less than five minutes before she suggested we meet up for coffee and scones. A month after my neighbor moved in she sent me an invitation to her housewarming/passion party. While it's not uncommon for people to go to bars and clubs in hopes of meeting someone you can also meet guys in places like Starbucks and Trader Joe's. They'll just start chatting with you while in line or when they happen to sit at the next table, just as if starting up a conversation with a total stranger is the most natural thing in the world.
And...okay, I know my San Francisco friends will never forgive me for this, but I also really like Disneyland. Maybe it doesn't hold quite the same level of charm for me that it did when I first moved here but still there's no denying that they have one of the most spectacular fireworks displays on earth and they set them off every flippin' weekend! Once in the land of the Mouse you are so thoroughly removed from reality that I can't help but think the experience is comparable to having a really good acid trip. Seriously, you have cheery music, singing princesses and giant, happy dancing rodents all around you and just when you think things couldn't get any more surreal someone puts a light saber in your son's hand and invites him to defeat Darth Vader. Tell me that doesn't have a Lucy-In-the-Sky-With-Diamonds-meets-Age-Of-Aquarius quality to it?
As for the materialism and the smog, it's there but it's not anywhere near as pervasive as I was lead to believe it would be. The air in parts of LA (Santa Monica, Long Beach and what-have-you) isn't bad at all and there are actually a lot of people who feel little too no need to acquire the excessive trappings of wealth (although most people here will skimp on groceries in order to budget in appointments with their esthetician and/or waxer).
So now there are lots of days when I find myself wondering what exactly it is about this city that my Northern Californian friends take such offense to.
And then the other day I was in spin class and my instructor walked in with her black spandex pants, hot pink sports bra/half-top and bleach blonde hair. Half way through the class she called out "hover!" We all immediately lifted ourselves off our seats and proceeded to "hover" as it is defined in Spin. My instructor made a failed attempt to crease her botoxed forehead and snapped, "Ok you guys, when I say hover you're supposed to say whoo! Let's try it again." And at that moment I remembered exactly why Northern Californians continue to harbor their disdain for the City of Angels. But of course fluorescent pink sports bras are only part of LA's story. Did I mention that we have hiking trails with real live coyotes roaming around? And art and theater and friendly people too?? And when you're in the mood to drive down to the OC we even have happy, dancing rodents. There are no hidden Mickeys in Dante's Inferno. So while my new home might not be utopian it's significantly better than Hell.
See ya at Disneyland.
--Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis