Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Adventures at Romantic Times #RT14


Last week I attended Romantic Times (RT) in New Orleans. It was my first time attending RT and my first time in New Orleans, so I was pretty excited about it. The thing I was most excited about was the chance to meet several fellow spanking authors face-to-face, so that's what I'm mostly going to blog about today.


Me with Celeste, Cara, and Alta.
Hanging out with these ladies was the best!
The first author I met was Celeste Jones. I was standing in line to check in at the hotel, and I got a text from Celeste telling me to wave so she could find me. LOL. She says I looked frightened when I turned around, but all I remember was feeling giddy with excitement. She also says we exchanged an awkward hug, but what she doesn't know is that my first impulse was to squeeze her and giggle. I restrained myself though! I also had a hard time talking to her because my ears were still popping and ringing from the flight. She starts talking about a wardrobe malfunction, which you can read about here, and I'm standing there trying to explain that I can hardly hear anything. Oh what a ridiculously fun first meeting!

After I finished checking in, I threw my suitcases in my room and immediately headed for Cara Bristol's room. Again, probably an awkward hug, but I was absolutely giddy to finally meet Cara. Celeste was there too, and we put together our spanking basket for the Club RT raffle before heading downstairs for drinks.

Alta Hensley arrived soon after and it was funny because she looked exactly as I imagined she'd look. I mean, I'd never seen a picture of her before, but when you talk to someone online you kind of build up an image of their appearance. If Alta were to have stood in a police line up with a bunch of other cute brunettes, I would have totally been able to pick her out.

After drinks the four of us headed to Saints and Sinners for dinner with Blushing Books. We met Bethany Burke and some of her staff, Paige Tyler and her husband, Isabella Kole, and Maren Smith, Robin Smith, Laura Smith, and their dad. I hope I'm not missing anyone! Anyway, dinner was so much fun and the food was delicious. And no, Channing Tatum wasn't there, but the awesome company made up for that! :)


I tried beignets and really
didn't care for them!
I also had breakfast one morning with the Etopia Press folks, and there were a lot of us - about 14 people! Again, it was fun putting faces to names and chatting with authors and Etopia staff I'd only talked to online.

On my second day at RT, I finally tracked down my friend Olivia Jaymes (also writes as Lara Valentine). Back when I was a new writer with only one published book, she was one of the first writers to talk to me on Twitter and friend me on FB when I knew no one, so it was awesome to finally meet her.


Me with Phuong, a super nice reader I've
known for a few years but haven't met
in person until now!
The following days were filled with workshops and hanging out with other authors, mainly my spanking buddies. None of the workshops blew me away, I'm afraid, but I'm wondering if it's the ones I decided to attend. I mostly attended genre specific workshops (sorry, not going to name which ones), and I left each one feeling like I hadn't learned much. I wish I would have attended the workshops on promo and sales instead, particularly the workshop led by Courtney Milan about why some ebooks sell and others don't. Cara Bristol wrote an excellent post about this workshop though, and you can read about it on her blog here.


What happens at Pub Crawl
stays at Pub Crawl.
There were lots of evening events, and I skipped most of them to have dinner with friends instead, but I did attend the Pub Crawl with Alta Hensley. It was...um...wild. I think we made it to the third or fourth stop (there were seven publisher stops) when I saw a sign that said "32 ounce Hurricanes - $10." I pointed the sign out and Alta excitedly says we should each get one. Oh my. All I'm going to say about the rest of this night is that if Alta and I had gone to high school together, I imagine we would have ended up in the principal's office quite a lot.


I brought candy!
Now, about the Giant Book Fair. There's been a lot of talk about how many authors were treated as second class citizens during the event. This post is already getting long, so I'm not going to rant, but there is truth to what the "indie" authors are saying. If you weren't in the big room with the big names, you were called "indie" and in a few cases I've seen "aspiring", which is a diss because we're all published. There were several USA Today and NYT bestsellers in the "indie" room too, and we were all given about a foot of space less than promised. The two ladies I sat between were awesome though, and while I didn't meet a lot of readers, I still had fun.

I also visited the Garden District one day and walked around the French Quarter too. They are two separate places, right? Thank goodness Kate Richards was there with her awesome niece (who had a map and was all organized), so we got to take in some cool sights. And on my last day there, Cara and her Missouri friends adopted me and we walked all over and even visited a voodoo shop.

Thus concludes my adventures at Romantic Times. Overall I had a positive experience at RT and I'm 99% sure I'm going to Dallas next year.

32 comments:

  1. I wish you had squeezed me and giggled. :)

    Love this post. It's like re-living the fun. It's hard to describe to someone how fantastic it was to sit and chat with people who are writing spanking fiction and understand the ups and downs (so to speak) of what we do.

    P.S. I'd just like to mention that I'm not really shaped like a giant fluffy bear, but sort of. Next time I get to be in the back of the photo.

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    1. I will squeeze you and giggle next time! :)

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  2. Seeing your face brings it all back. It was a lot of fun! I used the last day to hang out with vampires. I just kept meeting them. :) Very nice folks, actually. New Orleans! Only there.

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    1. RT was a lot of fun! I'm jealous you met vampires though...and in a graveyard...ah!

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    2. Ooooh Kate I'd think it would be really awesome to hang out! Vampires and graveyards right up my ally.

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  3. It all sounds wonderful, Sue. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time. I'm thinking that it's the quiet ones who always end up in detention. :)

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    1. The quiet ones rarely get caught, but sometimes they do, and sometimes they get detention. But usually they get away with all sorts of mischief. :)

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  4. Ahhhh, I love this post. It reminds me of all the fun we had. And yes, we would be in trouble all the time. Good thing we live in different states! ;)

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  5. I've just relived the conference through your post. So much fun! In some ways, I'm glad some of the workshops were lackluster because that encouraged us to get out of the hotel and explore NOLA.

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    1. Good point about the workshops. I'm glad I didn't feel guilty about take some time away from RT to explore NOLA.

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  6. BTW, Great look to your blog. Did you redo it recently?

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    1. Nope, it's the same! Haven't changed a thing!

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  7. I'm having so much fun experiencing the con through all of you. I sure hope to meet you all in person one day. Thank you for sharing!! :)

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    1. Hope to meet you too one day, S.J.! :)

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  8. It sounds absolutely wonderful. It must have been so great to meet with everyone.

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    1. It was great fun! Come on Tara, mark you calendar for Dallas next year! :)

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  9. Sounds like you had more fun with the ladies. I'm sorry I missed it. I've been to these things a few times, and they're all the same. Some of the seminars/workshops are good, others notsomuch. The main reason to attend these things is to network, unless you're looking for representation or a publisher. And getting your books displayed at the bookfair is next to impossible unless you're a 'name', or your pub has arranged it. All in all, depending on location, cost and your goals, these boondoggles can be a good thing. How did you get your 'hard copy' books?

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    1. Networking and meeting author friends was definitely the best! Oh and those aren't print books. I brought along postcards and signed them. The process of bringing and selling print books seemed like a hassle so I decided to try the book fair without them. I'm not sure what I'll do next time.

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  10. OH, and Alta looks NOTHING like I pictured. :)

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    1. LOL. Now I'm curious. How DID you picture Alta? :)

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  11. That sounds so fun! I'm glad you all enjoyed yourselves and hope to make it to a conference one of these days.

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    1. Next year's RT is in Dallas, Angie. Maybe I will see you there? :)

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  12. Another great article about RT, Sue. I really wish I'd been there.

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    1. Would have loved to have met you, Kathryn! :)

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  13. Wish so much I could have been there with you girlies. I love beignets AND hurricanes! I'm glad y'all had fun and enjoyed NOLA. It's super fun!

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    1. Wish you could have been there too, Normandie! Hope to see you at a convention soon! :)

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  14. Replies
    1. Thanks, Dinah! I am looking forward to meeting you in August! :)

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  15. So sorry I didn't get to go and meet you, too!!! Sounds awesome.

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    1. Wish you could have been there, Renee! Next time, I hope! :)

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