Author-friends and the Panama Hotel

First, some quick backstory:

  • Once upon a time, I saw HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET in a bookstore, saw that the author (Jamie) was coming to do a reading/signing, realized he was a fellow halfie, and decided to check it out. Bought the book and loved it. Friended Jamie on Twitter.
  • Fast forward a couple years, and Google launches their Hangouts feature, which lets you video chat with multiple people. Jamie starts hosting Wednesday Writer’s Hangouts. I join in and meet a bunch of cool peeps, including Aprilynne Pike, Ben L.J. Brooks, and Dustin Hansen.
  • Fast forward another year or so, to 2013, and I decide to visit Seattle over Labor Day. Jokingly, I tell Jamie, Ben, Aprilynne and Dustin that we should all meet up there. To my surprise, they agree. In fact, they book their hotels before I’ve even bought my plane tickets! Holy crap, this is really happening.

So about halfway through my Seattle trip, I took a break from sight-seeing to join this elite literary cadre for tea, pho, and a special tour of the Panama Hotel. The hotel’s owner (who knows and loves Jamie) even took us down to the sento — the only Japanese bath house in Seattle that’s still intact.

day 3 002 day 3 005
day 3 007 day 3 012

It was pretty amazing to get a “VIP” look at this historic site — the hotel being where many Japanese families stowed their belongings during the WWII internment. And it was so fun to hang out with my author-friends in person. (Sadly Dustin had to cancel at the last minute, but he was there with us in spirit.) All four of them are further along the writer-path than I am — what with Jamie and Aprilynne being New York Times bestsellers (!!) and Ben and Dustin agented and on submission — so it’s inspiring and informative to hear them talk about their journeys. They’re so different from one another, and yet each one is driven by the same thing I feel in my own heart: A love of stories. A belief that words and what we say with them are important. A desire to share our imaginations with others.

authors in seattle
(Last photo yoinked from Jamie Ford.)

Like this:



Seattle in photos


Chihuly in photos


  1. Dude this is so cool. I always dream of meeting my online friends in real life and when it happens it feels sort of weird / liberating. Also, post more pics of that hotel, it looks so creepy and awesome!

  2. What a wonderful writeup! It was such a great weekend, hanging out with all you guys and gals.

    On, don’t forget: Montana next year =)

  3. Oh, how cool! There’s nothing like spending time together in person after primarily chatting online. So glad you all had fun! :)

  4. I’m so glad you all got to hang out! I’m going to totally sound old saying this, but what an amazing world we live in that we can connect like this.

  5. Margot-
    Haha, the hotel part really wasn’t creepy at all — though there were some cool themed rooms. It was the basement (including storage and sento) that you would have loved!

    Ben and Natalia-

  6. How. Freaking. AWESOME! Very cool. :)

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén