Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

Topic: RT Con 2009

MY THOUGHTS ON RT CON

Originally I had planned to summarize each day of the convention and give a sequential time line of events… yadda yadda yadda. Then I thought about it–and noticed how I kept putting it off and realized, like all my writing, sometimes tried and true just doesn’t do it for me.

So, I’ve decided to simply write down my thoughts on memorable events as they come to me and just mention the date so there is a time reference. Depending on how much I blab about, this may or may not be multiple posts. Yippee for stream of consciousness.

– THE DRIVE –
I drove from Maryland to Georgia and then Florida. I stopped in GA so I could drop my cats off with my mom (cheaper then a kennel ’cause it was free) and so my mom could do some sewing for me. A few of my outfits needed to be let out, taken in, and have additions made.

Also driving to GA split the trip in half. Unlike Flash (Stephanie Burke), I couldn’t do that whole trip from MD to FL (13hrs) in one stretch and didn’t want to try. Well I could, but only after having rested for a full eight hours instead of getting off work, packing the car, sleeping for six hours (maybe… I think) and then getting on the road.

Going to GA was a breeze. Except for construction on I-4 going into Orlando, the trip down was fairly quick and smooth. I saw cops but since I usually keep my cruise control at nine over the posted, they didn’t bother me.

The trip home however was a different story. I was mentally and physically tired from the con–took me two days of sleeping to fully recoup when I got back to MD–so the drive seemed to drag on forever. It didn’t help that I got lost on the return trip to GA. That was a pain in a half. Worse still, I left GA later than I thought I would (wanted to leave at 3 pm at the latest didn’t get on the road until 5:30).

Traffic was fairly light on the return trip but, as I said, I was exhausted. Exhausted and driving at night don’t go together. There were several times my eyes closed and I woke up before the car went out of my lane. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s dangerous but I eventually did something (can’t remember what) that woke me up and I was fine.

I made it home safe at 3am (why did I hit construction 4 miles out from my house?). All I unloaded were the essentials–the cats and their food, my toiletries, and my laptop. Everything else stayed in the car for the next four days (had to go grocery shopping and needed the room :P).

Whew… I get tired just remembering that drive back. But you don’t want to hear about my drive. You have to hear about…

– THE MODELS –
This year the contestants of the Mr. Romance competition had to mingle with the masses because the readers got to vote for their favorite. Reader’s Choice won $200.

Whoever thought of that, good on them… matter of fact, great on them. Women who would otherwise be too shy got to actually talk to a lot of handsome men. Sure they were vote wrangling but it didn’t matter. A hot guy is talking to you. SQUEEE!

The EC cavemen were markedly absent except for the night of the EC Jungle Party on Thursday (more about this later). They showed up to do a routine to Jungle Love. Check out the YouTube vid (shake that money-maker… woot!). Anyway, Rodney and a few others were the only ones who stuck around.

Rodney Chatman – He is so sweet and bad for you at the same time (like chocolate). Flash had him out on the dance floor at the Dochester party (Saturday) rehashing old dances that had died off long ago for good reason. During the Saturday giant book fair I got him to sign the cover of the EC Erotic Emerald collection so Solange Ayre could sell a few more copies (I even snagged one for me). Of course, Solange kept one too. 😀

Charles Paz – He is such a sweetie. Easy to talk to and very eager. 2009 was his first RT con and he was thankful for any advice he could get, to which Flash had tons (the woman needs to be in marketing and promotions. Every client she touches would be an instant success).

Charles won Reader’s Choice and Mr. Romance (prize – $1250 and a Dorchester cover). If you’ve seen the pictures or the You Tube vid, you can tell he was really happy about that. My only hope is that being in the limelight doesn’t change him.

Franco D’Angelo – Yummy sums it up. The man is so fun to look at. I noticed him the very first time when I came into the hotel after my drive from GA. I saw him again at breakfast the next day and couldn’t stop looking at him. It’s the hair–black and long–and then his physique.

He won Contestant’s Choice at the Mr. Romance competition… not sure about the prize for that.

One person, I can’t remember who, said he looked like Melchior from Serenity. After they said that, I couldn’t stop picturing Franco blue with horns and a loincloth. *evil grin*

He’s got a great sense of humor and doesn’t mind showing off his body, so he probably wouldn’t mind being slathered up with blue paint for a photo-op… yeah right, like I could afford whatever these guys get paid to do the photo shoot. I’ll put that on my goals list though.

Stefan Pinto – Dark and mysterious. Looking at him makes the mind go to naughty places quickly. He’s that secret lover you can’t wait to meet once the sun goes down. It’s the foreign mystique. 🙂

I didn’t talk to him much but when I did he was a fun guy to be around. *cheek kisses*

He got runner-up for Mr. Romance which is $500 and a commercial with Circle of Seven Productions..

Eric Teglia – Comic and anime geek! Those are high marks in my book. We got to talking about our cats and movies we liked and it almost felt like I was back with my old group from high school and college. Good times.

I imagine he’d do the covers for goth romance. Not gothic. Goth, like the fashion trend, and don’t call it Emo *shudder*. Possibly some vampire novels. He’s got that tortured lover look… when he’s not grinning.

Konstantinos Lelis – Don’t call him Fabio. And why would you? He looks way better than Fabio and his accent is much, MUCH sexier. The first time he spoke to me, I was gone. I love accents!

I admit, without shame, that his accent had me more so than his looks. He’s handsome and yummy but that accent was even more scrumptious. Too bad you can’t sell an accent on a cover. 🙂

Jimi Gaskin and Jeremy Rivenburg – Except to harass them for promo and autographed plates for the Sinfully Sweet party (more about that later), I didn’t talk to them hardly at all. Nice guys to look at though. 😛

– THE HOTEL –
All I know about the Wyndham Resort is the convention center. Flash and her husband, Camille Anthony and her daughter, and I got together and rented a condo that was two miles down the street–quick drive so long as the lights and traffic were on our side. Plus, parking at the Wyndham was free.

The condo was gorgeous. Three bedrooms, two full baths (master bath was flippin’ huge), full kitchen, laundry room, dining room, cushy living room, and a balcony. There was a pool, but none of us took advantage of it even though Flash kept saying she would.

If I liked Florida, which I don’t (too hot, too many hurricanes, too flat, not enough trees), I would seriously think of buying one of those condos for return trips (149K). The price of the condo for six days was roughly equal to the hotel rooms, which (from my understanding, never actually saw them) were cramped.

– THE GOODY ROOM –
Two books this year and the free-for-all was only open to booksellers. We were allowed a return trip to grab two more books. I took Dennis (Flash’s hubby) so I could get four *eg*. But to make matters worse, I grabbed a book I was given with my registration bag. *grumble grumble* Note to self – check books as you get them to make sure you don’t get repeats.

– FREEBIES! –
I’m talking books, baby. When you go to RT Con, you know you are getting BOOKS and lots of them. I made out with 52 books this year totaling $404.98. Two of those books were advance release copies (bound and presented just like any book you would find at the store minus the “not for sale” at the bottom of the cover) of Pamela Palmer’s Desire Untamed and Jeaniene Frost’s Destined for an Early Grave.

24 of the above mentioned books were nabbed at the Dorchester party Saturday night. They had six tables (or was it eight?) of books–half on either side of the room. At first they said two books per customer until everyone got a chance. But then they opened the flood gates. When I was done, I needed a box to carry my booty home and Flash was shaking her head at me. 😀

What can I say? I wanted my registration fee to be represented by the number of books I brought home and it was. Woot!

I also got three t-shirts, which I will wear proudly.

– MY PROMO –
I strive to remember one rule when doing my promo: give something you would want. If you don’t want it, chances are no one else will either. Or they’ll take it and then toss it later when culling the herd.

– Postcard photo albums –
Thanks to (list authors) for contributing.

These albums were mailed to RT to be stuffed into the bags given to the booksellers and were also handed out during the eBook Expo and the Saturday Giant Book Fair.

Everyone loved, absolutely loved, them and they complimented me on an original idea. Most people couldn’t believe I was just giving them away. I’m sure the idea will be copied and I totally don’t mind. Whoever want to tackle that beast is more than welcome. I have to say I’m very proud of the photo albums but I will never do it again. Way too much trouble, time, and energy.

I still have some left over that will be making a one-way trip to Lori Foster’s Reader-Author Get Together in June. After that, no more photo albums.

– Over-sized swirl lollipops –
These giant three inch lollis had a sticker with my logo, name, url, and a message that read “Be a sucker for great romance”.

I stuffed them into the goodie bags of the Samhain bookseller event and gave them out during the giant book fair on Saturday. Everyone loved the novelty of it. I got a lot of laughs. I’m not sure if anyone ate them. God help them if they did. Can we say sugar shock?

What can I say? I saw the lollis and the idea just came to me. I couldn’t resist. I wish I could have gotten some sugar-free ones for the diabetics out there. It’s annoying as all when I can’t cater to everyone. I’m not a chocolate-eater (stop looking at me like that) so I know how annoying it is to be offered something you can’t accept because you won’t eat it and don’t want to be wasteful.

– Bath sets –
Bianca D’Arc had a bookseller event as well and I contributed to that too. There were two types of bath sets. Both came with a tiny loafa, but one had slippers and the other had a big brush.

Bianca said the booksellers really liked them. So I’m happy they were well received.

– PROMO ALLEY –
This year promo alley cost $25 to place author promo. I didn’t do it since I wasn’t sure what the money paid for and wouldn’t chance a repeat of last year’s fiasco (you’re gonna have to track down my post to find out what happened).

However, the setup was a good idea. The tables were blocked off into rectangles with the author’s names designating their spot. No chance for overflow or promo shifting. Kudos to the RT people for thinking of that.

I did the alley all at once when I was sure most everyone had their stuff out. I know I missed some things but I still got a huge haul. I grabbed three of everything (unless it was coverflats in which case I grabbed four so I could have one). One set of promo is going to Teri, my beta reader who would kill me if I didn’t grab her stuff. The other two sets will be offered as prizes as soon as I do the contests (still have to catch up on my monthly contests).

– The Book Signings –
Had fun at both! Everyone loved my Mandarin style dresses. I wore a red one on Wednesday and a blue one on Saturday. (Note – I will be loading these pictures to my website. I wanted to load them to this blog post but I’m running low on time and energy and I haven’t shrunk them down yet.)

– eBook Expo on Wednesday –
I was repping Red Rose Publishing so I was up front and center. Lots of smiling and handing out promo. I wanted to have the RRP authors’ booktrailers playing but my battery died and the connection was nil.

I sold two ebooks but I think of the expo as more of a promo opportunity more than anything else.

– Saturday Giant Book Fair –
I was seated between Solange Ayre (Mary Ann Chulick) and Blair Bancroft. I entertained the ladies while trying to get people to buy my book. I only had Serenity on tap but I sold over half of my stock. There were seven copies left and I bought those for giveaways and contests and whatever.

My dad, new stepmom, and my mom all came down to see me at the book fair. This was my first time meeting my stepmom and she’s such a fun lady. She gets brownie points just for liking my books. My dad wore the t-shirt I had made for him. It has the cover for Serenity and says “Proud Father of an Author”. I plan to make him one of those shirts for every book. 🙂

Flash made 6, count them SIX, huge beautiful baskets to raffle away. People were running over each other to get to them. We ran out of raffle slips and had to borrow some from someone else’s basket.

The Mr. Romance contestants were making the rounds so I got to see them. That was a happy. They were all toting around signs for the blood drive going on in conjunction with the book fair.

After everything was done, we packed up our stuff and went to eat. Flash and I arrived just in the nick of time for the signing and had to rush to set everything up so we didn’t have time to eat breakfast. We were so thankful when the fair ended and someone mentioned food. Everyone hopped into our cars and headed to an all-you-can-eat Chinese place. We sat and talked and ate for a little over two hours. Flash and I returned to the con in time to see Charles Paz named Mr. Romance. I had wanted to see the whole thing, but I had more fun with my family and friends and food. 😀

– THE PARTIES –
One thing RT Con is known for is the parties. It’s a “prepare to have fun” situation. And between you and me, it’s also an “eat before you go” situation. Let’s just say, the food is what you’d expect when preparing a meal for 1000+ people all at once.

– EC Jungle Party (Wednesday night) –
I dressed as a tiger and Flash was a jungle bunny, except her bunny ears wouldn’t fit over her giant afro so she ended up looking like a jungle priestess instead. We spent more time taking pictures than anything else and that was fun.

– Faery Ball (Thursday night) –
I’ll be the first to admit that I messed up my costume. I didn’t give myself enough time to finish it properly. It was a fun idea I hope to actually modify and make work the next time I wear it.

Flash’s costume looked great and I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of it. Thankfully other people did. It’s on her facebook (or were those from the first time she wore it?).

I guess the food at the fairy ball was good. Flash and I arrived a little late due to getting ready so we weren’t given much time to eat before they called everyone on stage. I got two bites of my steak and when we got back to the table the steak had been traded for chocolate cake *groan*. Suffice to say, I was happy when we got home and I could eat my leftover Popeye’s.

– God’s of Midnight Party (also Thursday night) –
When the Faery Ball ended Deirdre Knight’s party got started. And Ms. Knight cave us hunky models dressed as Spartans. Can I get a “hell yeah!”. Oh those boys were hunk-alicious.

The best part of the night was Spartan musical chairs. The boys took a seats that were arranged in a circle and the women circled them like hawks as the music played. Just as you would think, when the music stopped, we (yup I was playing) had to sit down or be considered out. I was one of the last FOUR women standing. You didn’t read wrong. I stuck to it until near the end. Though, Chris and Stefan helped me a little. They gave me a little tug whenever the music stopped to make sure I was safe… at least I think that’s why they were holding me so tight. Is it getting hot in here? *fanning*

A fun game and I had a great time though I was worried about the models. It never got out of hand but the setup of the game might have gotten someone hurt. Later Eric said he was only worried about his feet. The guys were wearing gladiator sandels around a bunch of women wearing heels. Not a good combination but everyone made it out unscathed.

This party was when I got some oh so fun pics of Franco. Did I mention that man is yummy.

– Vampire Ball (Friday night) –
We arrived late and left early. Everyone was spent by this time. We did take a lot of pictures because everyone loved Flash as a Japanese geisha vampire. Check out the You Tube vid.

– Avon’s Dusk to Dawn Mixer (Thursday afternoon) –
Free books being signed by the authors and LIQUOR. Mojitos and rum runners. I indulged in a mojito. It was good. I’d never had it before but I will try it again, assuming the person making it does it with mint and not parsley (yes, I’ve seen it done with parsley).

Avon, thank you so much. I needed that drink.

To date, my fav drinks are Gucci Slingback (Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, thanks), Pickled Tink (Hardrock Cafe, you so rock), and Mojito (Avon, love ya!).

– Sinfully Sweet Party –
Me, Flash, Dana Marie Bell, Camille Anthony, and Eve Vaughn all got together and did a reader event that was well received. We had a great time and so did the people who came. I think most of us only expected 15-20 people. We had that place packed. I think only 2 or 3 people ended up leaving and that was only because they had to go to another panel.

After the party was over, everyone said how much fun they had and some people tracked us down saying how upset they were that they missed it.

Flash made mini-Victorian hats for us all to wear (which she is now selling on ebay so go catch them while you can… you’ll have to bug her for the link). We played Dirty Minds and adult mad-libs. The audience helped us fill one out and the point of the game was to read it without laughing. Flash (I wish I recorded this with my camera) was all but humping some poor woman’s leg to make her laugh. Our winner hailed from the Netherlands (the land of my birth… I’m not joking. I’m military, remember?).

We also had a game from Camille (the rules of which are still foggy to me) where people had to think up weird pairings based on a dice roll and the readers got to vote the best. The winner was the woman who said Wolverine and Vin Diesel (ooooh, baby, yeah!). One woman (Laura, was that you?!) said two names that I have blocked from my memory because I can’t remember it (I really can’t, that’s how yuck it was), but when she said it I hit the floor. Literally, I fell over and stayed there. Everyone was laughing at me, but that visual was gross.

The grand finale was the First Line contest. Everyone had to make-up the first line of a book on the spot and the best got an absolutely gorgeous white mini-Vic hat that Flash really didn’t want to part with (I hear tale she’s going to try and re-create it). The winner was happy to get it and even wore it the rest of the day.

As I said, a fab time was had by all. Everyone’s #1 question when it was over: Will you do it again next year? Read a little further to find out.

– RT CON 2010 –
After the expense and the stress, I vowed I wouldn’t be doing 2010 in Columbus, Ohio unless I signed a NY press contract with a huge advance…

Everyone so enjoyed the Sinfully Sweet party and kept asking what we would do next year that it looks like I might be going whether I get that contract or not. *sigh* Time to start planning my outfits.

The funny thing is, even with all the stress and money and time needed to prepare, I’m looking forward to 2010 already.

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