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.|
TUESDAY: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 Aguirre, Cindy Holby (aka Colby Hodge) and Beth Revis.|
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|
|A lot of women want to save a horse...|
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.|
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!