Saturday, May 11, 2013

RT 2013...Day Five...Book Fair and FAN-Tastic Excuses to Wear a Cocktail Dress

Big GIANT Book Fair. Yes it was! Not sure anything I can write could do it justice, but here are a few pics:

LA Witt/Lauren Gallagher talks to a fan.

The lovely Ariel Tachna in purple! Shocker! ;)

Damon in the utili-kilt.

Marie always dresses so nicely! And you should see the shoes!

In the foreground are Brynn Paulin and Kate Pearce.

I just love Marie Harte's smile!

Bronwyn Green is even nicer in person!

Isabelle Drake was so dang cute and had a permanent smile!

Confused as usual. I brought Ethan a Diet Coke and he was fine after that.

The lovely Lynne Connolly and her Brit decor!

Leigh with JP Barnaby
I actually left the hotel! Carol Lynne, Ethan Day, Simone Anderson, Suzanne Graham, TA and I made a snap decision, grabbed a couple of cabs, and headed to Hamburger Mary's (during the day! not for the drag show!) for lunch. I had a great Ahi wrap and chili cheese TaTa's (tater tots). I know that sounds like a weird combo, but it was! LOL.

Love the GLBT sandwich..totally stealing that idea!

The sad, lonely little pie.

Saturday was packed with cool stuff, even after the Book Fair. It was both FAN-Tastic Day and Teen Day. To me, that was almost my favorite part--seeing all of the hundreds of young readers so excited and lining up to get books and meet authors. It was very gratifying to see the next generation of readers!

The FAN-Tastic Author event was a free-for-all, really! Stacks upon stacks of free books, authors everywhere, food, raffles. I met some of the authors I remember reading as a young girl when I first started reading romance! In fact, I got an ARC of a new book by Jude Deveraux, who I first read thirty years ago! Wow!

Damon was the MC, not singing karaoke.

The wonderful Elizabeth North from DSP, who sponsored the event.

After we hauled our loot back to our rooms and spent some time packing, I wanted to spend some more time with Carol Lynne, who was there but not registered--just hanging out with Ethan. So we went down and sat in the corner table at Spectators (lol) and visited until it was time to say goodbye to them both until GRL this October. *sniff*

Okay, I guess I don't look TOO sad!

 No time for the sads! It was the last night, and time for the cocktail party and dance, so I wore...a cocktail dress. Stood to reason. ;)

Yes, I always end up dancing with Damon. Whether alone...
...or with a crowd!!

Marie Sexton and I were twinsies in little black dresses.
 And so our evening concluded, and for me, that was the wrap on RT. Nothing left to do but the practical stuff--finish packing, shipping, checking out, checking into the flight and heading home. It's always so hard to say goodbye to everyone. It was an amazing experience to be with so many people who share my passion for books. I know that this is the first of many RTs to come for me!

"Goodbye all, and see you next year at RT 2014 in New Orleans!"

Friday, May 10, 2013

RT 2013...Day Four...Speed-Pitching, Celeb-Spotting and Freaky Friday

Friday was busy!! It was the last day in Club RT, which by then had become a home away from home...away from home. Friday was also the phenomenon known at Pitch-a-Palooza, basically speed-dating for writers, where acquiring editors and agents from all over are gathered in one place, given one chair in front of them, and aspiring authors get in line with their faves to give them a 3 minute story pitch. And when I say three, I mean it. They had a stopwatch and everything! I was next to and across from NY agents, and that was very interesting, but didn't have much time to watch them since I had people throwing ideas at me left and right. Mostly paranormal for some reason, lol.

It was very cool doing that, and then we got to have more fun and draw the winner of our giveaway. The woman who won was a grandma from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was sweet as pie. I walked over to the Westin to deliver the prizes and she just kept thanking me and offering me refreshments. :) Loved her!

Loved our giveaway winner!

After that, TA and I went to the one and only panel I hit--Broken Wings, Writing Damaged Characters--led by Amy Lane, ZA Maxfield, Belinda McBride and Kate Pearce. I love them all, but it was especially wonderful to meet Kate, who really inspired me as a writer and I've always credited for my first exposure, so to speak, to the MM genre!

With Kate big fangurl moment!
TA with HER fangurl moment with Amy Lane!

Ethan and ZAM

Once we headed back to the elevator, we noticed signs advertising a room party the Whispering Cove series authors had put together. Since it was right down the hall from us, we headed in and got a yummy drink called Sex At My House--Amaretto, raspberry liquor and pineapple juice. Sweet but refreshing. There were a couple dozen people in the room while we were there and we finally figured out that the dark haired woman getting mobbed was actually EL James, the 50 Shades lady. So Ranae Rose and I went up to meet her and get a pic, right before she had to go to another engagement.

Ranae Rose and I with 50 Shades author EL James.
I later tweeted that I'd had Sex At My House with EL James. Hmm... somehow that didn't quite come out right.

After that we were bored and wandered around to find something to do. LOL! Just kidding! Oh man, there is sooo much to do! I needed ten more of me! We went to Avon's Red Slipper Lounge where the authors were giving away and signing loads of books. I grabbed a couple of YA titles and had them signed to my daughter for gifts. :) I also did an interview there on camera with the folks from RT, so we'll see if they use any of my shot at fame in their video!

We headed back up to, yep, Spectators and gathered as many of the TEB authors as we could find for some drinks and nibbles. No photos were taken, but I remember seeing Marie Sexton, Stephani Hecht, Amber Kell, Simone Anderson, Marie Haynes, Daisy Harris, Suzanne Graham and TA.

Heather Graham's Freaky Friday party was next. I'd been forewarned that it was a good night to be late to the event since a family skit was always part of the act, so I took the opportunity to spend a bit more time catching up with Ethan, who we dragged up to our room so we could continue talking while we got ready.

TaTa and Devo ride again! Yes that is a leash.

Once he saw us in our outfits, we all couldn't stop laughing. Really, it was insane. New nicknames were born that night--Devo and TaTa for us girls. Jury's still out on Ethan's. My vote was Teeth. He said he'd never get date again. Nibbles?

Duck lips. Quack!
Yeah, that was about as straight as we could keep our faces.
Freaky indeed! Wow, there are some seriously repressed souls who bust out all over when they get to conferences, evidently! We had a lot of fun and still managed to get to bed at a reasonable time! Well, one of us anyway.

Awesome photobomb, TA!

With Demon and Blade (aka Damon and Scott)

Leigh's fallen angel caught between Francesca's vampiress and Damon's demon.

Surprised a real smile out of him with a surprise kiss. :)

One of my earrings. The other's a wooden stake.


Dancing with Mitch... Okay, so it's Heidi Cullinan in drag. Pretty convincing!

Can you tell I spent a lot of time with Leigh Anne? With Len Gunn.

Groovin with Damon.

After we'd got comfy in our new matching T-shirts!

More photos and a write-up on RT Book Reviews' site HERE.

Tomorrow I'll have Day Five...Book Fair and FAN-Tastic Excuses to Wear a Cocktail Dress

Thursday, May 9, 2013

RT 2013...Day Three...50 Shades of Surprise, Snow and the Ball

On Thursday, rumors started swirling around about how, in a panel somewhere at RT, someone had been talking about 50 Shades of Gray, and the author EL James had stood up in the back of the room and said something like, "Stop talking about my book that way." Most of us thought it was just a joke until we started hearing more details and then came the pictures. Yes, EL James had crashed RT under a different name, then switched to a badge with her real name. Evidently the panelist had been in on it with her and all was well, but it certainly caused a stir, lol. More on EL later.

Another thing that got people talking and actually even going outside was the fact that it started snowing. Now, the day before it had been up to about 80 degrees, so snow was pretty amazing. I spoke to one woman who had never seen snow before and was just giddy about it!

Yes, snow. Yes, it was 80 degrees yesterday. Yes, it's the Midwest.
 I spent most of that day in Club RT, so the first event I went to (other than the disco night and my spotlight) was Romance Pride. It was a cool event with lots of swag and books and costumes, since you were to come dressed as your favorite sub-genre. TA and I went out on a limb and chose Contemporary. *nods* Not sure why we didn't win, but some of the outfits were awesome!

Steampunk! Francesca, Marie and Leigh Anne rocking it!

Kissy-face with "Mitch", aka Heidi Cullinan

We didn't leave empty-handed though! Dreamspinner handed out T-shirts that said, "The only women who don't like gay romance are those who haven't read it!"

TA and I with our consolation prizes!

Time for the E-book Expo!! We moved the display table down then took turns wandering through finding some of our favorite authors!

Damon holding court as usual

Yay! Finally got to meet Mary Calmes in person!
Marie still in her eye-popping steampunk outfit!

Amber Kell giving away dragons.

The beautiful Marie Harte!

Stephani Hecht looking gorgeous as always!

Then came the Samhain Safari. We actually got there a bit late since we'd stopped off on the Club level for some hot wings, lol, then found that they'd served food at the safari. Ah well, we still found room for the fruit tarts, which were so freaking good. Not sure I ever figured out why Damon was a demon on safari, but it was a cool outfit.

Wild Man Damon Suede

After that it was time for bed. No, wait! It was time for an espresso then to get ready for the 30th Anniversary Formal Ball. They really pulled out all the stops, and served a plated dinner, though we were really full by then. They walked us through 30 years of romance through dinner topped off by a partial striptease by the top guy at Amazon. Once again, the outfits were a lot of fun, and dressed to the nines was the style of the night!

A sampling of the styles!

Damon before changing...

...and after changing!
TA, JP Barnaby and moi
 Figured this was as good a place as any to insert the requisite photo opps with the Mr Romance and cover guys. Photo thanks (and all the posing too, for that matter!) to Leigh Anne!

With 2009 Mr Romance Charles Paz (whose flashy suit matched his personality!) and the super nice Scott Nova

2011 Mr Romance Len Gunn looked like he wore a suit every day.

Oh no! This guy turned into a big purple floral arrangement!

Harvey Stables (Mr Romance 1999!) and Scott dressed men!

DeLonn Donovan, me, Scott and Harvey

Okay, sheesh, one more and that's it, Leigh! Harvey is really tall, btw.

Back tomorrow for Day Four...Speed-Pitching, Celeb-Spotting and Freaky Friday.