Monday, April 16, 2012

Goodbye Chicago, Hello Dragos

The Romantic Times convention is over for another year. Le sigh. The con is always a fun, jam-packed week for me, and this time wasn't any different, but man do I hurt when it's over. Still... Kansas City in 2013!

Your first night there, you walk (or roll, as the case may be) around the hotel, trying to figure out where everything is. At least I do, because when you're in a mobility scooter things like stairs and escalators can be a real problem when half the convention is on a different floor, or when the elevators are all in one tiny little spot and you have to jostle for space. I will say the O'Hare Regency is excellently situated for that, as the elevators were in a central location, had stairs and escalators AND a handicap/service elevator that got me from one floor to another without having to fight any lines.

The central elevators had these really cool light-up bottoms and glass fronts.
Because it was so busy, and I didn't get a chance to blog about the con while I was there, I'm going to break it down by day. Bear with me, because the con is NUTS, but in a good way.

My first night there, I was invited to the Aussie Dinner, which is apparently an annual event. It was my first time there, and I enjoyed myself immensely. I got to sit at a table with Elizabeth Hoyt, Jade Lee (who wore a beautiful necklace), and Megan Crane.

Willy (one of the Aussies), me, Jade Lee and Cy, a bookseller from Wyoming. Behind us you can just make out Bianca d'Arc on the left.


The next day was the first full day of the convention, starting with the Welcome Party and a lovely tribute to the late Judi McCoy. Then it was off to the con, and the Science Fiction panel. Have I mentioned I've begun a Sci-Fi Paranormal Romance? Stern Negotiations is on my sidebar as one of my works in progress, so listening to advice from the likes of Linnea Sinclair and Ann Aguirre sounded like a really good idea.

From L-R: Cindy Spencer Pape, Isabo Kelly, Linnea Sinclair,  Ann AguirreCindy Holby (aka Colby Hodge) and Beth Revis.
There was just enough time for lunch before my Club RT time. The Intergalactic Bar and Grill was fun, but jam-packed; I may skip it next time, as maneuvering the scooter through the press of bodies was not easy.

That evening, I skipped the Ellora's Cave party to have drinks (and pizza) with Scott Carpenter, the artistic director of Samhain and the man in charge of the beautiful covers, and Tera Kleinfelter, my Samhain editor. Tera was thrilled that I've finished The Hob, and says she can't wait to get her hands on it. Off to my room to read, and I was out like a light before I knew it.


I had a nice lunch at the hotel restaurant with PJ Schnyder, her boyfriend (whose name I forgot to get permission to post, so I won't), my new Carina Press editor Mallory Braus and her friend. After a little work on Stern Negotiations I was off to the eBook Expo!

Signing at the eBook Expo
It was far more crowded than I expected, but I gave away some of the tote bags, pens and pins, and everyone was having a good time getting autographs from their favorite ebook, independent and graphic novelists. Once the Expo was over, it was runrunrun to the Samhain Western Stampede.

A lot of women want to save a horse...
You could get your picture take in Samhain's "jail", browse the books, or win a Kindle Fire.

Time to get ready for the Fairy Ball! One lavender wig later, and I'm all set. Once again, I met up with PJ Schnyder, and together we glowed.

In my case, literally.

Oh, boy. It's Books, Bods and Brews day! But first, bright and early is Club RT. And I have to say, it's really quiet at 10:30 in the morning. I might do afternoons only next time.

After a nice solo lunch, it was time for Carina Press Bingo! Fill out your card and win a prize. Thank goodness the Books, Bods and Brews event was in the same room as the Bingo. Once that event was over, we were able to set up immediately without having to rush. Charles Paz (Mr. Romance 2009) made a surprise appearance, so PJ had some of the readers Pin The Kiss On The Hunk... using Charles!

And much swag was given away.
That evening, Carina Press hosted their authors for some free cocktails at Morton's Steakhouse, where I got to spend time with Cindy Spencer Pape, ZA Maxfield and Bonnie Dee. After, I headed to the bar again, where I got invited to sit with a group who turned out to be avid gamers. We drank alcohol and bitched about ME3's star child (and how much we wanted him gone) and how awesome in general BioWare and Bethesda are (or were. I think Bethesda is gone now.) Oh, and I still say you should try the Fenris rivalmance!


Oh my God, the crazy. This was easily the roughest day of the con. I was already signing in for the Giant Book fair at 9:30, where I ran into Dragonlady Beth, a fan of mine for quite some time now and a volunteer for the day. We chatted while I set up, and I made sure she got one of the tote bags from me before the event started. 

I later turned the sign around to show off the Cynful cover with Julian on it.
It was crazy! I had my back to Teen Alley, and I'm pretty sure Charlain Harris or Anne Rice were right behind us as well, because the line kept forming in front of our table to see one of them whenever their names were called. I had Bear Necessities, Dare to Believe and Noble Blood for sale, and sold almost all of them. I did walk out with some tote bags, which I'll be bringing to Lori Foster's RAGT next month.

By the time it's over you've been in your seat since 10a.m., your feet are asleep and you have to pee like no one's business, so off to the room I went for a quick bite, a long potty break and put my feet up before the evening festivities begin. The FAN-tastic author party was almost as packed as the Book Fair, and I got to speak to a few more fans before running to my room with forty-five minutes to get ready for the Carina Press Cocktail party, where we gave away two iPads.

PJ Schnyder, me and Seleste Delaney at the Carina Press Cocktail party.
The fun of the game was walking up to an author and asking, "Are you the one who wrote about the vampire who fell in love with a weretree?" And if you did that to me, the answer was yes for Blood of the Maple. You wrote the name and author on a slip of paper and entered the drawing for the iPad.

Off to the Harlequin dance party, but I didn't stay as long as I'd planned. Around 10:30 I slipped away with PJ and Mallory for drinks and some food, and didn't crawl into bed until one o'clock in the morning thanks to the need to pack. 

It was off home on Sunday, where Dusty and the kids took me out for Mexican and then tucked me into bed, one very tired, very happy author. I will definitely look into Kansas City for next year, but until then, I'm getting ready for Lori Foster's in June. See you there!

P.S.: I start Throne of Oak this week, and hopefully send The Hob to Tera this week as well. Cross your fingers for me!


Dana Marie Bell said...

P.S.: I have two words for you: Chocolate. Martini.


Dani said...

Sounds like you had a damn good time! I'm hoping to get to RT next year. I only got a taste when I went to the ebook expo and the book signing in '09 when it was in Orlando. Now I want the whole experience! LOL!

Oh, and chocolate martini's are to die for. I love them.

Louise said...

Wow! Sounds like an amazing con. One of these years...

Favorite Quotes

"I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability." Ron White

"So let me get this straight. You want me to kill the little guys, kill the big guys, crowd control those I can't, buff the team, debuff the boss, keep myself alive, AND keep you alive, all while waving a stick and dressed in a towel?" - Anonymous Role Playing Gamer

"I think that statue over there is a statement on modern life. The statement is, "Well, shit." - Varric, Dragon Age II

"Why is it all claws and guns? Can't we piss off a fuzzy planet? Still dangerous, but hey. Bunnies." - Joker, Mass Effect

"Last night, I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?" - Dilbert

"Aim at the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you'll hit the bull's-eye of success." - Annie Oakley

"It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." - Flemeth, aka The Witch of the Wilds, Dragon Age 2

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.'” - George Carlin

"I hear there's a wild bridge tournament down the street. And you know Bridge. It's a lot like sex. If you don't have a great partner, you'd better have a good hand." Barry Weiss, Storage Wars

"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

"I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

“If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.” - Henry Ford