Monday, October 31, 2011

GRL Swag Contest ...Happy Halloween!!


Okay, here at last is my GayRomLit swag contest. Take a look back through my recaps, then send the correct answers to the following questions to me at devonrhodes@hotmail dot com with GRL Contest in the subject line. I will randomly draw the winner from all entries with all (or the most) correct answers. Contest runs through next Monday, November 14th at midnight, and I will announce the winners on Tuesday. Good luck!

1. Name two of the dancers we saw at Lafitte's.
2.Who did I ride on the streetcar with?
3. My admirer's nickname?
4. Who did I chat with in the airport on the way home?
5. I shared a table at the booksigning with what author?
6. Which of my books made multiple readers cry?
7. Someone who was with me on my balcony.
8. Two of the bloggers I spent time with?
9. My roommate for the retreat?
10. Dates and location of NEXT year's retreat!
11. Your favorite author in one of my photos (no wrong answer here!).

***The winner (in the US or Canada only due to shipping costs, sorry!) will receive a swag bag including a signed copy of the Gaymes anthology, a Devon travel mug, a T-shirt I specially designed for GRL, and other assorted fun stuff.***A runner up will receive the T-shirt.***

And everyone who enters and provides their snail mail addy will receive a magnet I specially designed for GRL and at least one autographed postcard. Hopefully that's enough incentive to look through my posts for the answers, and they are all right here on my blog.

Happy Halloween Hunting and good luck! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

GayRomLit Recap, Days Three and Four

Picking up a couple of short hours after I left off on Day Two...
Thanks for the java babe!

Alarm went off mega-early pour moi, but I rallied. Hauled my box o swag for the cemetery tour participants down to the bellman, and then went to go grab coffee in the lobby...only to have it run out with a gasp I echoed. This is after watching the person in front of me fill three caffeine-laden cups of bliss to the brim. Karma was with me and it turned out to be none other than Jackie (whom I didn't recognize from behind with her wet hair). She took pity on me when I began to gamely fill up with decaf and swapped cups. Not sure who in her room got the decaf later on (Steph?) but I sure appreciate your sacrifice!

Some of "The Bloggers": Leontine, Janna and Kassa (nice legs!)

Unusual since it's all metal.

Chair with footstool for the lady, tree trunk for the man.
Ended up sharing a cab to the cemetery after having heard stories about non-existent streetcars, which worked out great. (I swear, NO must have the cheapest cabs of any city I've ever visited.) After a bit of a wait, our tour guides showed up, divvied us up and we headed out. Among those in my group, I had "the bloggers"--which I loved after having such a great time with them at Laffite's the first night. Here are a few shots from the tour, which was fairly simple but hey...I still geek out over history, so I enjoyed it. Plus the weather was insanely nice.

After the tour, which included the Katrina Memorial, in the shape of a hurricane, most of us rode the streetcar back towards the hotel. I had a great time chatting with Jaime Samms on the ride and subsequent walk. I tease her about her Canadian accent (she claims they don't have one...right).

Kids got their own swag bags.
Back at the hotel, author spotlights and readings were going on, so I had a chance to peek in on those. Collected some masks from Kiernan Kelly, which were a huge hit with my girls. Took some pictures, including a top-secret photo of some brand new tattoos, one of which was in an interesting place...made more interesting when the person in question had to admit to going commando as they reason they didn't want to drop trou. Well, of course we bulldozed that objection and ended up with a great shot (which I'm still waiting for a copy of, ahem!!).

Damon Suede was tantalizing us all with his kilt--and proved to enough of us that I wonder if he doesn't have an exhibitionist side exactly what men wear under kilts. (The answer, btw, is nothing. Otherwise, it's just a skirt.)

Apparently needed a flask to deal with GRL'ers.
Had a lovely lunch al fresco with TA Chase, Stephani Hecht and VJ Summers, then dropped by some publisher spotlights in the afternoon. Had my first and only hurricane of the trip at the MLR poolside event, where I tried to make the rounds a bit, after which a group of us went out to dinner. I was signed up to take the Vampire and Ghost tour that evening and we ended up with a little old lady who was shorter than me and quite the orator. She had some fabulous performances/reenactments of events around the Quarter, and at one point stopped talking mid-sentence to run (with us trailing along like so many chicks) and join a wedding parade.

Has everyone's attention except for TA...who claims she was looking at me.
When we returned to the hotel, there was a wine/cheese reception at the pool we hit towards the end. Already, we were starting to feel like things were winding up, so I made sure to get a few photos with some authors I fangurled all over (at least in my own head).

Jackie, Damon Suede and me
With Marie Sexton, whose Coda series kept me up before I came.

Jackie and me with Ethan Day (one of my heroes later that night!)
That event flowed right into the bar crawl organized by Stormy, Joyee and Gabrielle. At the second place (Good Friends), we ran into the entertainment from the first night, all of whom were utterly horrified happy to see our group again. We had a nice time visiting with some locals before I looked around and realized most everyone I knew had left (and most of those remaining weren't staying at the hotel.

So by default, I ended up with Jason and Gabrielle Evans for the rest of the evening (um, early morning?), mostly dancing at Oz. It was another if-you-can't-beat-em-join-em night where I didn't get to the room until about 4:30am, took a much-needed shower, did some packing and fell into bed right about the time it started to quiet down (and get light) outside.

The next morning was all about saying au revoir. The location for next year's GRL was announced at the farewell brunch--Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 18th-21st--and rounds of goodbyes were made by all. A bit more packing and I was off to the airport. The only side note to the trip home was the fact that I ran into Rick Reed in the Atlanta airport. We had flown from New Orleans on different flights and also had different flights home--him to Seattle and me to Portland--but our gates happened to be right across from each other. I'd barely seen him at the retreat, so it was great to sit and visit with him one on one for a half hour or so until he had to board his flight.

All in all, I think it could definitely be called a successful premiere. All the organization that went into this is just staggering, and I really admire the dedication of the organizers and helpers who pulled it off. Of course there were challenges, and I do think a few things could use a bit different approach, but I really enjoyed myself. It was a big lovefest of MM. Most of us who were there have a true love of the genre and don't get that kind of unconditional support elsewhere. So it was truly unique and a great start to what will hopefully continue to grow and be an event we can all look forward to.

Hope you enjoyed my recaps! Now for the fun part!! I will be having a contest based on my three recaps, so look those pictures over and read between the lines. :) More details and contest kickoff in my next post. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Details on Dreamspinner Halloween Sales and Advent Calendar Bargain!

2011 Advent Calendar package now on sale at its lowest price through October 31!


It's the most fervent dream of the holidays: to have a life full of blooming romance and enduring devotion with love, joy, and even a touch of lust to warm the cold winter nights. No matter what holidays are celebrated, the idiom holds true: home is where the heart is.

Your Christmas present to yourself! A package of 31 stories, all with holiday flair. One story a day will be placed on your bookshelf. The full set is around 1,800 pages of romantic M/M fiction selling individually for a total $92.69. Buy as a set and save!elf each day in December. Over 1,700 pages of fiction selling individually for a total $92.69. Buy as a set and save!

October - $39.99
November - $49.99*

*Sale of packages for daily delivery ends Nov. 25.

On Dec. 1, stories will be available individually or as a set for $64.99.

Check out the I'll Be Home for Christmas story list.

Includes my next release, Let It Snow!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Busy Weekend...

Feeling rather scattered right now and when I've been online, I've been amazingly focused on a couple of projects. I did promise a Day Three GRL summary and I promise I'll get that up within the next day or two, along with the swag contest. In the meantime, you can enjoy the heroes from my current WIP, A Ring and A Promise: Naval Academy grads, Cary (Navy) and Owen (Marines).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

GayRomLit Recap, Day Two

Me and Kate getting our coffee on.
Yes, there I am with the deathgrip on my coffee, looking a bit rough next to the perky Kate McMurray as we posed for Marie Sexton. I was working on about three hours of sleep, but I did make it to the morning Cafe & Beignets thing, so I was very proud of myself. :) All of you who know me know I am not a morning person, so I sipped and smiled more than spoke.

The publishers' spotlights were scattered throughout the retreat, and two of my publishers had them overlapping that morning. So I first hit the Total-E-Bound spotlight where owner Claire and publisher Nicki were announcing winners in their lovely British accents, and mingled with some of the other great TEB authors attending, including Carol Lynne and JP Bowie, two of the organizers of the retreat.

With Poppy at the Dreamspinner spotlight.
Then I excused myself to run over to the Dreamspinner Press spotlight where Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton were holding court in lieu of actual employees. They did a fabulous job of getting everything out and everyone organized, and it was seriously hopping!! Barely room to move. I ended setting up outside in a little courtyard, where this great shot with Poppy Dennison was taken.

After the spotlights, I took four readers and went for a get-to-know-you lunch. It was great to sit and relax and have a bit less hectic visiting time with some of the attendees I might not have got to chat with otherwise. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

Knowing that it was going to be tight making it over to the riverboat after lunch, I had packed up what I needed for the booksigning into one of my rolling suitcases and took it along to lunch. So after we'd finished and lingered a bit, we were able to head right to the dock without going back to the hotel. Here are a few pics I had Marie Sexton take onboard.

Um, Marie? Up here...

There you go!
Sharing my table with fellow Dreamspinner authors, including the wonderful Marguerite Labbe (right).
 The cruise went by so quickly. There was a constant but nicely paced flow of people by the table and I enjoyed signing postcards, books and e-reader covers and talking with readers about their favorite books. The consensus seemed to be that Making His List made everyone cry, and they all loved Paul Richmond's cover of One More Wish. I gave away a swag bag which included the black tote bag itself, a t-shirt with GRL New Orleans on the front, a travel mug, a signed copy of Gaymes, plus other assorted trinkets. Before we knew it, we were back at the dock and wheeling our stuff back to the hotel...walking, of course. It was a beautiful, sunny day in the mid-80s.

I took about a half-hour after I got back to relax and clean up a bit (and unwind...I loved visiting with everyone, but wow, sensory overload after a while! I'm a stay-at-home mom, so it was a bit of a culture shock!). Then I had a brief business meeting with the publisher I edit for...poolside with a drink of course. That turned into chatting with whomever wandered up, and then it was past dinnertime so a few of us ordered in (yummy and extremely cheap Mexican), before it was time for the TEB pretzel party hosted by Carol Lynne and TA Chase. I must admit that I got chatting with someone who shall remain nameless and so the event was more than half over by the time I made an appearance. Sorry ladies!

Time to head out for the evening and I found myself in the company of Amber Kell and her husband, and Stephani Hecht and her sister, Jackie, whom everyone was totally enamored of. Here are some shots of us wandering Bourbon Street.

Jackie and Stephani picking out just the right test-tube shots.
Bottoms up! LOL at how many drinks are in this photo.
Ah, yes. The Hand Grenade. Stephani couldn't pass by a single souvenir glass.

Without going into too much detail, it was finally decided we'd be better off letting other people do the moving around, so we grabbed a few more GRL'ers and some drinks to go and headed up to the balcony of my room...which happened to be right across from the balcony of Oz, the gay club whose nice thumpy music had lulled me to sleep the night before.

Three well-behaved couples on the balcony at Oz. The naughty ones came later.

Now, Steph and Amber and I all write MM romance. So the cute gay guys flirting and making out on the balcony across the way were getting tons of avid scrutiny and "awww"s from the three of us. At one point, Steph called her son, Cody, and was describing the scene to him. His response? "Mom, stay away from the railing." LOL!

We also had a very entertaining transgender and/or cross-dresser directing traffic in the intersection down below in a sparkly top and tight boy-shorts, with a whistle and a flogger. If people didn't move fast enough or follow directions (or if they were just saucy enough to ask for it--like Steph), she would smack their a$$ with the flogger or drape herself across the hood of the car. We watched her for hours.

Eventually everyone started drifting back to their own rooms and Trina turned in. I was about to do the same when I realized that I needed to be up and ready to head to the cemetery early...and I hadn't begun to stuff my swag bags for my attendees. So I worked on that for a bit (and really, I wasn't that sleepy anyway!), then I checked email for the first time. It was amazing to see that some of the authors and readers attending were actually posting on loops and blogs! More power to them! :)

Tomorrow I'll have Day Three for you: my cemetery tour, Damon's kilt, the vampire tour guide with the flask, and the Gay Bar Crawl...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GayRomLit Recap, Day One

Where to begin? I'll skip the trip in, though driving through NOLA six years post-Katrina was very different than when I'd been there previously. It felt...empty. Not the Quarter, of course. But many buildings in outlying areas were just boarded up and abandoned, traffic seemed a lot lighter (even with all the construction) and there were notably fewer "colorful types"--the tarot readers, street musicians, etc.

The view from our corner balcony on Bourbon and Orleans.
Got to the hotel and since it was undergoing a remodel, they had put me in a single. Well, I love Trina Lane, but I don't want to sleep with her, you know what I'm sayin? After a firm refusal of a rollaway and a half-hour in the lobby, they finally came back having upgraded me to the "owner's suite", which has the corner balcony on Bourbon and Orleans, right across from Oz (more about that in a bit). :)

I was late to the opening gala due to the room thing, so got to walk in cold (and alone)--man that sounds pathetic, lol! Luckily I spotted and recognized Carol Lynne, so I went up to introduce myself and she pointed Trina Lane, my roomie for the event, out to me. Trina, in turn, pointed out a few other people, and so I eventually eased into the group. I'm not the most outgoing person in the world, especially when it come to large groups of people. Oh, I'm fine one-on-one or even in a small handful of people, but an entire roomful makes me freeze. And blush. Damned redheaded skin.

I didn't have much time to linger there since I was coming in toward the end, though I did sign my first autograph (thanks for making my night, Mary!). Then it was off to dinner with the Total-E-Bound ladies, who took all their authors out for a lovely meal on the outside terrace at Cafe Amelie. And gave us all jammies with our book covers on them. Those of you who have followed my blog (or have read Neighbors By Day, Naughty By Night) know my little thing about jammies, lol, and so I'm sure my roommate was happy for that gift. ;)

After the dinner wrapped up, there was the Men of MM night at Lafitte's. We (Marie Sexton and a few others) rolled in a bit late, were pointed upstairs by the helpful bouncer and lo and behold, there was the entertainment, up on the bar. Now, by this point, I'd had a couple of glasses of wine at the gala and a couple more at dinner. So when I figured out that was Chris from Stumbling Over Chaos sitting right there at the bar, I pretty much pounced on her. (My inhibitions get a bit low when I have more than one drink). Kassa got the hell out of the way kindly offered me the stool next to her, and they all introduced me to Jimmy the bartender and Jimmy Juice, which was the drink 'o the night.

I know if I try to list all the people I visited with that night, I'll forget someone. But some standouts were Piper and Cherie, Janna and Leontine, Kassa and Tam and Tracy, Kris and Chris, Heidi Cullinan and Vic, Ethan and Damon, Stephani and Jackie.

I think the Jimmy Juice affected my memory because try as I might, I can't seem to remember when (or why) we left Lafitte's. I did make it back to the hotel just fine and ended the evening by unpacking, which I'd had no chance to do earlier. Probably fell in bed around 4-ish that morning and listened to the last hour or so of music thumping from across the way as I drifted off. Gotta love alcohol, works even better than earplugs.

Day Two recap tomorrow! Spotlights, the riverboat cruise signing, and walking Bourbon Street with Stephani Hecht and Amber Kell.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back from GayRomLit....

And seriously the best possible way. I'll have to do a longer post later on because I'm just not ready to do more than a few words today. I will say I had a marvelous time, it was well worth going, I met so many fabulous people and I can't wait to share it all with you!

If you want to get a jump-start, I put up some photos on my Facebook page. More later, INCLUDING a GRL swag contest...that has to do with the pictures. So take a peek, and I'll give you more details tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two Days Till GayRomLit...

I had the brilliant--yet slightly nervewracking--idea of sending the bulk of my swag and books directly from the vendors to the hotel hosting GayRomLit. Brilliant because I needn't haul it...nervewracking because I have visions of the hotel losing the boxes, or them being delayed for some reason until after I check out. Fingers crossed it all gets there and is waiting nicely for me when I arrive on Thursday!

Even so, when I began packing I soon realized that I'm going to need to take two suitcases...and the big one ain't gonna be for my clothes! Nope, still have a fair amount of goodies to haul along  with me, plus some books I had here to either sell, give away...or have autographed to keep. Hey, I'm a reader and fangirl too!

All of this is, of course, good news for the attendees since I'm not likely to want to bring much of it back home with me! But no worries, I will make sure to bring at least some stuff home because I'll be having a swag bag giveaway next week on my blog! I'll also be contributing to a couple of other giveaways around the blogosphere.

I can scarcely believe it's finally here! In just a little over 48 hours, I'll be rolling out of bed and heading to the airport. Notice I say getting out of bed and not waking up, because I guarantee I'll be suffering from EFS (Early Flight Syndrome) know, where you can't sleep and if you do, you wake up every half-hour thinking you've missed your alarm? I need to leave the house at about 4:30am, which is about 2 hours after my usual bedtime. Pondering just staying up....might be less painful in many ways!

I'll be taking my camera along and will be posting pics either during or after the fun. :) Now, back to my pre-trip listmaking....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 Free Short Stories! Come Trick-or-Treat at Dreamspinner Press!

Halloween Howl from Dreamspinner Press

To celebrate Halloween, Dreamspinner is inviting people to come trick-or-treating at our web site. Thirty-one of our fantastic authors have donated free short stories. Search through the different pages on the web site for Gary the gargoyle. Each time you find him, click on him for a free download by the author whose page he's hiding on! And make sure to check out the end of each story for a discount code good any time in the next year.

First hint: Yes, one of the 31 stories is mine! :)  So check out my pages for the gargoyle...and when you find him, you'll be rewarded with an epilogue of sorts to One More Wish...

Second hint (requested by Lacey): Since it's part of a series, you might want to check on the sequel page for One Wild Wish and One More Wish...

What do you get when you add two naked men and two dragons? Some fun In the Wild...

Let me know if you need another hint! :)