For pictures, click here to see my Facebook photo album!
Thursday was a much quieter affair. I met with Aideen O'Leary Chung, the head of Carina's promotional department, and sat with her for a while as she manned the Carina booth. I handed out a ton of the promotional postcards for SONG OF SEDUCTION. What hugely differed between RT and Nationals is that the reader truly love the bookmarks and other goodies, while at Nationals it all becomes ignorable stacks of paper.
I ducked out for a bit when I got a call from Kevan. She informed me that Lauren McKenna was interested in FLAWLESS, which signaled the start of that whole adventure. So cool. I must've had lunch, and then went to Bad Boy Bingo hosted by Victoria Dahl, Alyssa Day, and Cindy Holby. Smart Bitch Sarah was the bingo caller, announcing the numbers as "Bitches 5" and "Orgasm 69." Hilarious. Winners of each round were asked to read a sensual scene aloud. I wanted that chance! But I'd never ever won bingo before. As fate would have it, however, I was cycling into a huge bit of luck. I won bingo and got to read from Victoria's new book. So cool! And I have the ARC now--nenner nenner.
Upon meeting up with Vicki in the bar, Zoe and I just hung out for a while. Joelle called me from Chicago to say that a mystery author who shares her editor was there at RT and needed a costume for that evening's Faery Ball. The writer turned out to be a dude, Brad Parks, so I gave him my top hat. He's a stay-at-home-dad. It's gratifying to see that SAHDs behave just like SAHMs when let loose into the world--a little bewildered, a lot eager to make the use of a good time when it's presented. The four of us went out to dinner, joined by Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, and Monica McCarty. The Faery Ball, however, was not nearly so entertaining as the Ellora's Cave monstrosity. I turned in early(ish)
The next morning was the Kensington mixer, which was a little awkward for me. I'm no longer with them, but SCOUNDREL'S KISS is still on the shelves. So I downed two free mimosas and did my best to mingle. Handing out two dozen free copies of WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS surely helped to boost my popularity. But then I took off my Kensington Author ribbon and switched out the SCOUNDREL'S KISS bookmark stuck on my name tag for one featuring SONG OF SEDUCTION and headed over to the Carina Press spotlight. Quick change!
I'd say that attendance for the spotlight was maybe 45 people--a fair bit of interest. People asked tons of questions about the company structure, what they're acquiring, and whether or not it had the full backing of Harlequin. Angela James deftly handed that question to Donna Hayes, the president of Harlequin, who was sitting in the audience. I'd take that as a yes.
Then it was time for the Carina Press luncheon. Again, I got to go in ahead because I'm one of their authors. It's the little things that make me giggle with an over-inflated sense of self-importance. Lunch was what they called "mashed potato" martinis, where we ladled mashed potatoes into martini glasses and chose from an assortment of toppings. I thought it was a cute and tasty idea--skip the silly potato skins and go straight for the carbo goodness. Angela spoke to the roughly 500 people in attendance and premiered a video that features all of our covers. All in all, a big splash. I'm curious to see how all of this prep work will bolster the launch.
I killed a few hours and then rode with our old friends Jess and Jeff to their house. Zoe had flown home and I checked out of the hotel to stay with them for the night. We had dinner at the smoke-free Dube, grabbed some groceries for breakfast the next morning, and stopped by Jeff's curling club. Curling became the theme of the evening. We watched Men with Brooms and drank "corpse reviver" cocktails. Jeff is a full-on tiki dude now with such an amazing collection of tiki-related collectibles. I was glad to have a place to drink, chill, laugh, and generally set aside the craziness of RT for a few hours. It was also wonderful to see that two good friends continue to enjoy a happy life together.
The next morning I put my professional clothes back on. Jess drove me back downtown so I could participate in the book signing before flying out. I wound up sitting next to Sophie Littlefield, another mystery writer who knew both Brad and Joelle. Weird! We kept each other company as the readers mostly preferred the heavily paranormal headliners and the vast array of erotica authors. Historicals and mysteries? Not so much for that crowd. But still, I sold half of my stock. Three hours later I was in a taxi and heading out to the airport.
I had been a little concerned about making my 4pm flight, but as the taxi driver said, "This isn't exactly JFK." I was through security in about ten minutes. After running into Monica McCarty again, I settled in to eat lunch and try not to fall asleep. My flight through O'Hare was only slightly delayed, so I finished Erin McCarthy's Hard and Fast and had a latte. I love traveling by myself! But it certainly was nice to have Keven and the girls pick me up. Although I was fairly exhausted from my excess of traveling and socializing, I consider my first trip to RT to be a stellar success. I'm already making plans for next year...