Friday, May 10th, 2013 • No Comments on Reflections on the RT Booklovers Convention
Last week, I was in Kansas City attending the RT Booklovers Convention. Whew! It’s taken almost another week just to get around to writing about it. My brain was full with ideas and inspiration and knowledge gleaned from this massive event. This was my first RT convention and I thought I knew what to expect from the post-con updates from previous years, but there are some things you just can’t know until you experience them. I was only there from Wednesday night until the crack of dawn Sunday, but the three full days I experienced were an amazing amalgam of informative fun. From the writerly camaraderie to the chance to meet booksellers, librarians and readers from all over (as well as go all fangirl over some of my favorite authors), it was a terrific– if exhausting– experience.
Ready to sign books at the Giant Book Fair!
I’m sure there are many, many con reports already posted, as well as the official convention news from the RT Booklovers website, but I thought I’d share a few of my favorite moments of the whirlwind:
♥ Moderating my very first writing panel. Sweet and Sexy: Writing for Erotica Anthologies was a big hit with the audience because of the amazing panel. Rachel Kramer Bussel, Christine d’Abo, Kate Pearce and Michelle M. Pillow shared their experiences, offered advice and told amusing anecdotes.
♥ Spending time with Rachel Kramer Bussel. It was only the third time we’ve been in the same place at the same time and it was lovely to actually be able to take a break from the running from one event to the next and actually talk to her. About writing, editing, life, babies, travel– it was really one of the highlights of RT.
♥ Meeting the incredibly talented, funny, inspiring Tiffany Reisz. She came to my panel on writing for erotica anthologies and I scored one of six spiral bound ARCs of her July release Harlequin MIRA, The Mistress!
♥ Getting to talk with librarians from all over the country. I have a soft spot for libraries (I worked in one for almost five years) and librarians and it was really special to hear them say they ordered my Cleis Press anthologies for their libraries. I also ran into a friend from my local public library!
♥ The Avon Books party. Oh my. So many books, so many authors, so much chocolate! There were multiple chocolate fountains and a array of tidbits to dip, from the familiar strawberries and brownie bites to potato chips and bacon! There was also an abundance of wine and men– several of the famed RT models were mingling with the crowd, doling out little boxes of chocolate truffles. It was quite an event! I know all of the parties at RT are pretty impressive and I enjoyed all the ones I attended, but Avon Books was a particular favorite.
♥ Meeting John Scalzi and telling him that while I don’t read science fiction (Jay does), I am a huge fan of his blog (Whatever) and the humanity he brings to his writing. He laughed, but read his blog post on his experience at the convention and I think you’ll know what I mean. He’s one of the good guys.
♥ Spotting Jude Deveraux across the Giant Book Fair (where I was also signing) on Saturday and following her to get a picture taken with her. She was one of the first romance authors I ever read. Amazing lady.
♥ Running into Lauren Dane when in the elevator after I locked myself out of my room on the last night of the convention. (I seem to do that quite often– go to get ice and forget I don’t have my key card.) I’d met her a couple of other times over the course of the week (and mentioned that I’d love to have her write a foreword for one of my Cleis Press anthologies) and she’s just so nice. I must have seemed very tired and harried, because she whipped out a copy of her new novel Lush and gave it to me. So nice!
♥ Justin, the cute, somewhat overwhelmed guy in a black T-shirt and glasses who asked me about my erotic romance anthology Best Erotic Romance 2013— including what my criteria was for selecting stories. (I said a story needed to be erotica, romantic, contemporary and realistic– real people having real sex.) From what he said, he’d heard about the Giant Book Fair and decided to come by. I don’t know what he was expecting, but clearly it was more than what he imagined. But he did buy a copy of BER 2013 and as he wandered away I kind of wished I had taken his picture with the book. He inspired a story!
Oh, and I did I mention the snow? Yes, thought it was close to 80 when I arrived Wednesday, Thursday brought a steady snowfall– the first in over 100 years, I was told.
There was so much more packed into those few days that this post would be triple the length if I wrote about all of the events, panels and people. There were intimate chats in the hotel bar, informative panels on writing and promoting, writers from all backgrounds from NYT bestselling authors to first-time novelists. And then there was the swag! Totebags filled with books and every manner of promotional item you can imagine, from lip balm to pocket mirrors. My suitcase was about 25 lbs. heavier on the return trip and I’m giving away at least half of the books I brought back– mostly to the crew at Starbucks, where I spend my writing days.
My haul at the RT Booklovers Convention– about 25 lbs of books and swag!
It was a chaotic, memorable experience and I’m very much looking forward to RT Booklovers Convention 2014– in New Orleans!