RT Recap, Part 1

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Ah, my long-awaited RT recap! I know you've been holding your breath. I've made a personal resolution to keep from falling behind on blog entries anymore, starting now. I used to think of this as a journal, and then as a marketing tool. It's both, of course, but in future years I'll miss the journal part the most if I slack off.

So a mere 48 hours after returning home from Chicago North's Spring Fling, I took the bus out of Kenosha and flew out of Milwaukee. No problems! I love flights like that. I connected through Cincinnati, which, quite appallingly, does not have a Skyline Chili in the terminals. Only the vastly inferior Gold Star! So no chili for me. Poo. We flew over the downtown, providing me a clear view of the building where I used to work, and then we flew over Ohio State coming into Columbus, which meant seeing another building where I used to work! I'd accidentally run into Lisa (LB Greg) while waiting to depart Cincinnati, so she and I were able to take a taxi to the hotel.

Lisa and I settled into the bar, and we chatted with Anne Calhoun until other familiar faces began to arrive: Zoe Archer (my roomie), Victoria Dahl, Lauren Dane, Ann Aguirre, Angela James, Laura Bradford, and fellow WisRWA member Liz Kreger, who I'd seen only two days previous at Spring Fling. People came and went. Maybe drinks were consumed. A drunk girl and her two man-toys came by to quiz us on how to get published in romance because they wanted to do a "real life" chronicle of their romantic romps around the world. What a bunch of flakes. People-watching was a recreational sport, especially because two other conventions were there at the hotel: some Christian businesswomen's forum, and a national association of funeral directors. I bummed two maraschino cherries off a pair of undertakers as we exited the bar.

Wednesday meant real work, and it was by far the most obligation-heavy of my days. I attended a workshop on how to write articles for RT Book Reviews, where I was able to meet the editors I've corresponded with over the past year or two. Zoe and I met up with Sherry Thomas, who was there without her roommate who couldn't attend. We sat on our panel about Unusual Historicals, which had a decent turn-out of about 20 people--especially good because we were up against Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris.

I got roped into decorating for the Mad Hatter Tea Party, accidentally blowing off my invitation to go out to dinner with the other Carina editors and authors. I really regret that! Apparently there were unbelievable appetizers and a particularly cute waiter. Damn it! After a dinner that was obviously inferior, Zoe and I headed to the Ellora's Cave party. There w again met up with Sherry, as well as contemporary author Diana Holquist. Let the sociological observations begin!

Rumor had it that Ellora's Cave did not bring their regular Cavemen because they wanted to save them for the EC Romanticon later this year. Instead they hired local Chippendales strippers for the evening's festivities. I say they couldn't have been Chippendales because they couldn't even thrust in time to the music. Laughable. Like, literally, we laughed. But then there was open dancing for everyone, which made everything better. Zoe, Sherry and I wound up boogying with Morgan Doremus, the director of RT's website. She was the woman responsible for setting up my interview with Wendy last year. I was able to introduce her to Zoe, and the two of them had a productive chat about how to promote Zoe's "Blade of the Rose" series coming out this fall. Yay for networking! No wonder Joelle likes to match-make so much. It's a very satisfying feeling to know that my connections helped out two women I respect.

But then it was time to get ready for the Mad Hatter party. Scheduled to begin at midnight, it featured ten other historical romance authors...and me! I was pretty psyched to be in such amazing company as Heather Graham and Victoria Alexander. Dressed in my steampunk-inspired garb, I was treated to table-side service from waiters who brought me tea and little sandwiches. In the moments before they opened the doors to the hundreds of people, I signed as many cards as I could. Each author had been given a box of cards with their pictures on them, and the object was for readers to collect one from each author in order to register for a grand prize drawing. I loved that feeling of being in on something just before it happened--the same feeling I get going through "Author's Only" doors at massive book signing. Bypass crowds...feel like a superstar.

The doors opened and people flooded in. The 150 or so goody bags we'd assembled all went in a flash, but the people kept coming. There was no place for them to all sit! I'm glad I had my little table so I didn't have to wrestle with everyone. A woman stopped by the table and gushed about how much she'd loved WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS and elbowed her friend that she needed to read it too. Those same women circled the room to collect their cards, and while waiting to get entered for the prize drawings, they talked to me again. I asked the woman's friend if she happened to get a copy of WaSW in her goody bag. She hadn't, so I pulled one out of my purse and signed it for her. They were literally jumping up and down. How incredible is that?

Eventually, when all the little sandwiches had been eaten and all the tea consumed, the party disbanded. What's even better than showing up to a superstar-length line waiting for us? Being able to head out and let other people clean up! That was the best $250 I spent, which was the fee all of the participating authors paid into a joint kitty to host the party. I'd been hesitant, but now I'm so glad I took the chance. It really wouldn't have been the same RT experience without being able to be part of a reader event. So much fun!

Tomorrow, the rest of the week!

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