Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author


Topic: Coincidences, Accidents, and Rewards

While this event does take place directly after the Lori Foster Get Together and thus can be considered part of the “Cons 2008” label, it is not part of the convention and in fact happened AFTER the convention on the way home.

Stephanie “Flash” Burke’s Moutaineer crapped out. The alternator died. She thought it was the battery but it turned out to be the alternator.

We (Flash, Joy of Joyfully Reviewed and me) were booking it down I-70 East, with Camille Anthony ahead of us in her minivan, when the iPod started playing funny. The music would get louder and softer on it’s own. Then different things in the car started chirping right before the entire electrical system cut out.

Flash is still able to drive, but there is no speedometer or AC and we can’t get the windows down. When the car started coughing, she pulled off on the side of the road. She called Dennis, her husband, for some advice on the situation. There was no help there except for the suggestion to call AAA. While she was looking for the card, I called Camille and let her know the problem. She headed back.

Now, in my first Lori Foster post on Day Zero, I mentioned we were originally supposed to take one car, Camille’s, but had too much stuff and had to take two. If we’d taken Camille’s minivan (somehow), then this wouldn’t have happened until later. So I’m very, VERY glad it happened while Camille was with us.

It only took an hour for the tow truck service to get to us. I rode with Camille and Joy in Camille’s car while Flash rode with the tow truck guys. The tow truck guys actually went above and beyond and made sure we arrived at a place that could work on the car. However, the place didn’t have an alternator for the Mountaineer and wouldn’t be able to get one until the next day, Monday.

Luckily, Camille had made a friend at the Marriot who said if she ever needed it, he could get her a discount. Boy did we ever need it. She called him up and he got us a Marriot hotel room at a really good rate for 4 adults that night.

Flash spent the better part of the night beating herself up over the breakdown even though we all told her it wasn’t a big deal and wasn’t her fault.

The next morning, while we were getting ready to leave, Camille had this idea for a book. We’d been brainstorming all weekend for some joint ventures already and this was another one. By the time we got to the car, we had all of book one in a series completely figured out.

Before we got out the door, the car people called to let us know the car was ready. So we headed in that general direction looking for food. We stopped at a Big Boys. Very good food and a really nice waiter by the name of Trent.

Well, Trent gave us the idea for another book — this would be book two. While waiting for Flash to pay for the car, once we got there to pick up, Camille and I had brainstormed books three and four. We all hashed out book five before we got on the road again.

For everyone who ever says things happen for a reason, they are right. If we’d taken one car to Lori Foster’s, Flash, Joy, and I might have ended up stranded further along I-70 East. If Camille hadn’t made her new friend, we would have gotten gouged on the hotel room cost. If the mechanics hadn’t taken until Monday afternoon to fix the car, Flash, Camille and I wouldn’t have brainstormed all those books.

All in all a very lucrative trip (we hope) and we can’t wait until the next time. Though we’re hoping we don’t have transportation trouble again. ;P

As for the books we brainstormed, you’ll have to wait and see.

Topic: Lori Foster Get Together #2

4th Annual Lori Foster Reader-Author Get Together, Part Two

Day Two: Saturday, 07 June

Breakfast of bagels. They were good too. I wish I had gotten up for seconds before they were taken away.

I managed to corner Shiloh Walker and Anya Bast so they could sign the very large stack of books I’d brought with me from my collection. Stephanie “Flash” Burke thought the amount of books I’d brought for them to sign was funny but they didn’t mind. I had a few for Lauren Dane, but never saw her.

After breakfast was the book trade. If you brought books then you could take books. Flash had brought 59 books to trade. She knew she couldn’t go home with 59 since Dennis, her husband, had been overjoyed she’d taken the 59. He’d wanted her to take more. πŸ™‚ So, she divided her tickets amongst whoever wanted them, me included.

I got 11 books. There were so good titles there and though I may never get time to read them, I have them in case I do get time.

Lunch consisted of sandwich makings and soup. There was a raffle going on for the many baskets people brought, but I wasn’t paying attention. Good thing I hadn’t put in for any of them. πŸ™‚

That night was the book signing hosted by Barnes & Noble. The book store had been open most of the day, so people who bought my book had already tracked me down during lunch. I still set up for the book signing and just signed promo.

The book fair was the last major event of the convention, which essentially meant it was over. There were still little functions planned for later that night and the next morning though. In preparation for the pool party that night, Flash and I went back out again in search of a swimsuit for her.

This time we went asked for a nearby Target. We got the directions and didn’t get there. We did find it, but we got sidetracked by a Noodles and Company (very good food) and a TJ Maxx. They had a bikini Flash didn’t mind getting. There were tons of other stores, including a Verizon Wireless store so I got a charger. I found out my phone is being discontinued (or has been) and that’s why I couldn’t find a universal charger for it. The one the rep found me was like 75% off. Believe me, I didn’t care.

Now I have two car chargers, but I’m going to stash one in my conventions bag so I’ll never leave without it again. If and when I get a new phone, I’ll make sure to get an extra charger cord to stash in my convention bag.

Well, the time of the pool party rolled around and there was no one there. Instead, there were a bunch of screaming kids, jumping and splashing. I forgot to mention, but we were sharing the hotel with a little league tournament. It started out okay but once the tournament was over, the kids had nothing better to do than mill around the hotel being annoying. They were being really rude too so Flash requested security, who spent most of the night chasing the kids from floor to floor.

Flash and I went to the bar to hang out. I met Jackie and Jackie — Jacquelyne Frank (who was very surprised I didn’t know her) and J.M. Jeffries (the owner of Parker Publishing, who I very much plan to submit to in the near future). We stayed up very, very late talking and carrying on.

Day Three: Sunday, 08 June

Got up, checked out, visited with some people milling around the lobby, packed up the car, and headed to IHOP for breakfast.

It took Camille a little longer to get to IHOP but we ordered for her. Our poor waiter. He had to serve a table of 11 women and it was only his second week. I guess after us, everything else should be a breeze. He was such a good sport, that we took a picture with him. Hopefully, I’ll be getting a copy of that soon.

After breakfast, it was time to get gas and hit the road.

Next Post: Coincidences, Accidents, and Rewards

Topic: Lori Foster Get Together #1

4th Annual Lori Foster Reader-Author Get Together, Part One

Location: West Chester Marriot Ohio
Dates: Friday, 06 June 2008 – Sunday, 08 June 2008
Attendance: Approx. 270 (approx. 107 of which were authors)

First off, let me just say that the hotel was GREAT! After all my bitching about the Hilton at RT Con 2008, the Marriot was superb, even if I wasn’t comparing them. The best part is that Lori Foster has her get together in the same hotel every year. How nice is that?

Anywho, the convention.

Stephanie “Flash” Burke, Joy of Joyfully Reviewed, and I drove together to Ohio for the event. We had fun yapping with each other. Flash and I were roomies. We parted ways with Joy once we got there and hooked back up to head home.

Day Zero: Thursday, 05 June

We got on the road early morning, not as early as we’d planned, to head for Camille Anthony’s place. Since she lives in Akron. The plan was to go there, spend the night, and then head out to the Marriot 2 hours away. That’s what we did.

It was nice to have a day of hanging out before the real event and though we’d planned to pile everyone into one car, two cars was a god send later (you’ll see why) and not because we had a lot of stuff.

Day One: Friday, 06 June

The original plan was to get out of the house at 6am so we missed rush hour and could get to the hotel in time for the bag stuffing at 11am. Well, we didn’t leave at 6am. I don’t remember what time we left but we got to the hotel at 11:3o/40. Flash and I checked in real fast, parked the car and started playing catch up.

Since the bag stuffing had already started, Flash and I had to backtrack thru the already finished bags and place ours. Once we caught up, it just made more sense to stay where we were rather than trying to squeeze in with the assembly line. It worked out and we got our promo in the bags.

Once that was finished, we unloaded the car and got acquainted with our room, which was huge. We didn’t have a fridge, but didn’t really need it.

Room secure, we headed out for food and to track down the Barnes & Noble I’d seen (Flash was too busy driving to see it) on the way to the hotel. Well, we got a little turned around. We found a Chipotle to eat at, since Flash had never been. Well, she regretted it later since her stomach doesn’t like Mexican as much as she does. ;P

We were able to track down the B&N a little quicker once hunger wasn’t distracting us. There were tons of restaurants and shops around it. We’ll remember that for next year. Flash was on a swimsuit hunt since she wanted to use the pool, but all the places we visited were too expensive or didn’t have any. So, we decided to track down a Wal-Mart later.

Registration was that night at 6pm and I got a little surprise. I’m with Author Island promotions. DeNita Tuttle, the owner of Author Island, decided to give away a Kindle. The people who wanted to qualify for the drawing had to go around getting author signatures. When I said I’d chip in for the Kindle, I didn’t know that’s what DeNita had planned and was totally confused when the first person came up to me with the signature paper.

Well, I laughed it off and said what the heck. It’s face time with potential readers and that’s what DeNita wanted for us. Flash decided to point me out to everyone, ensuring I’d be mobbed. She thought that was hilarious since something similar had happened to her at her first RT Con a few years back.

Because of a late start and traffic, Wendi Felter (owner of Red Rose Publishing) wasn’t at the post-registration dinner. Camille stepped up and did the publisher introduction while Flash took on her potential authors pitch appointments. Wendi did get there later and she was very annoyed by with the cause of her delay. We all sympathized.

After food, Flash and I headed out to Wal-Mart. She still didn’t find a swimsuit she liked. I was on the look out for a phone charger, since I had rushed out the house and left mine. It was one item on a long list of things I’d left at home. I have a remedy for that though.


Topic: RT Con 2008 Continued #2

This is the last installment of RT Con 2008 since there are only two days left.

Saturday, 19 April 2008


A huge room full of tables where authors sit (or stand) and wait for eager readers (and some writers) so pounce on them for books and autographs. This madness started at 11am and ended at 2pm.

I had no print books to sign and sell so I made myself a gopher for Flash to make sure she drank something to keep from being dehydrated and nibbled on cookies and such. I didn’t buy anything though I had planned to buy Wild Wishes.

Due to a faulty battery in her oxygen machine, Camille Anthony had to be relocated from her table to a place near a plug outlet. The only place available was the EC Caveman table at the front of the room. The guys were very gracious enough to share when I asked and told them the situation. It wasn’t a dire emergency since she still had an hour of battery life left, but I didn’t want it to run out and then start looking.

The event would have gone really well, except not all of Flash’s books that she wanted were there, namely Keeper of the Flame. But, she wasn’t the only one who didn’t get books she’d ordered. One author Vivi Anna sold out in the first fifteen minutes and was left with an empty spot. She put up a sold out sign and wandered around.

The signing was almost over when we lost power, or so we thought. It was the last half hour and the whole floor went dark. No one thought it was weird until later that night. We thought it was a power outage but Dennis said all the other floors were still lit. AND, the emergency lights and the service corridor lights never came on. The popular theory was that Obama or some of his people, who had been staying at the hotel at the same time as the convention, had orchestrated the lights-out so they could sneak him out of the hotel.

There’s nothing wrong with that except there was a room full of people navigating thru a very crowded and cramped spaces. If anyone had fallen or gotten hurt the hotel would have been in trouble. The other clue that the whole blackout wasn’t a random happening was that the lights didn’t come back on, they faded in, like someone was using a dimmer switch.

The excitement ended. Dennis and I hustled Flash out to lunch with some real food. We were joined by Wendi, my mom, and Eve Vaughn. There was a sandwich shop whose name I can’t remember that everyone had been gushing about so we ate there. It was good too. Nice sized portions.

After that we headed back to the hotel so Flash could get some rest because she needed it. From her dress not fitting properly (a prior bout of sickness made her lose weight) to her books not being ordered, she was stressed out. Well, on our way back in we ran into Adrian Paul (Highlander). We wanted a picture but he was in a hurry. He said he’d be right back and never returned. That was a disappointment since I had wanted a picture at least.

That night was the Mr. Romance competition and the Cover Model Reunion dinner. No one was in the mood to do the Mr. Romance thing and no one had paid extra for the Cover Model Reunion dinner. Not to mention, Wendi had set up a non-RT function for us.

She got us into a local BDSM club for a demonstration. It was fun too. We all (Dennis, Flash, Wendi, Melissa Glisan, and me) piled into Eve’s rental minivan to head further into the madness that is Pittsburgh. The place is tucked into a very discrete spot. If you didn’t know where it was, you’d never find it.

The proprietor gave us a demo of a fire flogger (very neat) and the different whips and floggers. He even demo’d on some of us (me included). Not the fire flogger though. After the demo, I was able to say with some finality that I am NOT into spanking or being hit. I do not like pain. It pisses me off not turns me on. But this demo gave me much needed info for later books and we were able to talk to people in the lifestyle.

Going to the BDSM club meant we missed out on a huge DRAMA-fest that happened at the Dorchester party. If you don’t know about it, then you’ll have to hunt down other people’s RT Con 2008 blogs. I have no personal, firsthand details so will not write about it.

We got back from the club and decided to hang out in the bar. Joy from Joyfully Reviewed and Natalie, her sister, were there with their friends talking about their “snake” (inside joke) problem. I got a snack and we joked around with them for a bit before heading to bed.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The last day. My original plan was to go to the Samhain Publishing Sayonara and then hit the road. Well, I did go to the Sayonara (thusly named because Japanese food was served — sushi and potstickers), but I didn’t leave right after. I ended up visiting with Flash and yapping, trying to cheer her up.

Even though Samhain served food, there wasn’t really enough so I was still hungry and so was Mom. Flash and Dennis were hungry too so we all trekked down in search of the sandwich shop we’d gone to with Wendi and Eve the day before. Well, we didn’t find it. We found something better. The Six Penn Kitchen.

Let me tell you, the food there was soooooo good Dennis, Flash, and I are ready to drive back to Pittsburgh just to go there. The prices were fair for the amount of food they give you and it’s a lot and it was GREAT! I totally recommend the place if you’re in Pittsburgh for whatever reason.

After the crappy service at the Hilton, the people at Six Penn were angels. The waitress smiled at us when we entered and we were sold. ;P (Yes, service at the Hilton was THAT bad).

After really good food, we headed back. Mom packed herself off to the airport and I went to hang out in Flash’s room for a little bit before leaving. A little bit turned into a few hours. After a while, I was almost thinking of staying in their room and heading out later since they didn’t plan to leave until Monday.

Well, Flash wasn’t feeling that great and Dennis was antsy. None of us wanted to be in that hotel longer, so we packed up our stuff and got the heck out of dodge. Dennis and I spent the whole trip home leapfrogging (separate cars).

I was so happy to see home when I got back. I took a nice looooooong shower then went to bed.

That was my first RT Con. The hotel aside, it was great fun. I know what to expect next year and can better prepare. I have a whole list of stuff I learned (I’ll do a post on that soon) and I’m going to be very prepared for 2009.

Topic: RT Con 2008 Continued #1

It’s about time I finished writing about this since I want to do my write-up of the Lori Foster Get Together. πŸ™‚ So, without further ado… the rest of my RT Con experience.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

From 9:30am – 10:30am, I sat at the Samhain Club RT table, which was fun. I had my laptop out playing my book trailer and chatted with people who stopped by. From there is a was a mad dash to make a panel I wanted to attend.

I’d like to mention that part of registration for RT Con is listing which panels you think you’ll attend. I chose randomly but wasn’t sure how hectic stuff would be. Well, over the course of the convention, I made it to ONE panel out of the many I picked. Yup, ONE. That was Samhain Publishing’s publisher spotlight. It was mostly a regurgitation of information I already knew, though the in perpetuity clause was a new one on me. I have to check my contracts for that.

Stephanie “Flash” Burke insisted on being at the African-American Authors panel, because she was a speaker. So Dennis and I were left to mill around. I took that opportunity to work my way through promotion lane grabbing three of everything for contests and such later.

Once Flash got out of the panel, we grabbed food and went back to our respective rooms so we could rest. By this time, the stress of the convention was really getting to her and it was only the second day. So Dennis wanted her to get some sleep.

That night was the Under the Sea Faery Ball. It was fun to get ready for since Dennis and Flash were determined to squeeze the stuffing out of me with my corset. πŸ™‚ There’s a short video on YouTube of the event (I’m #118 near the beginning). Though I didn’t win, I was a finalist. I’m pretty sure if I had stuck with the theme, I would have won. But the night was fun regardless.

Due to the tightness of my corset and the discomfort of my thigh-high boots (yes, thigh-high), there wasn’t much dancing. Besides, Flash’s wings made dancing an impossibility anyhow — they were too wide. We chilled out in the common room letting people take pictures of us. The guy from GQ magazine was obsessed with Flash. I’ve checked the site, but haven’t seen the pictures so maybe they were for his own personal collection. ;P

Not sure what time we left but it was great to get out of that corset.

Friday, 18 April 2008

The night before Pat Simmons, the RT Con PR coordinator, tagged Flash and me for an early morning live TV spot on KDKA. Pat wanted people in costume since CBS Pittsburgh live were doing a spot on the RT Con and the highlight was the Faery Ball of the night before.

So, Flash and I got back into our costumes and headed for the lobby where we would meet everyone else. Pat said she talked to everyone who wore a costume but not that many showed up. Flash called Eve Vaughn to come down, so she was with us at least.

It was freezing! They had us outside for three teaser spots and then the actual spot. Poor Flash was shivering and cuddling up to Lady Burrows (owner of RT mag) for warmth. I called everyone I could think of to let them know I was on television. The spot was on the KDKA site, not sure if it’s there any longer. And Pat is waiting for the KDKA people to send her a copy so she can distribute it to those who participated. When she gets it to me, I’ll spread it around. πŸ™‚

My original plan was to do the morning spot, go change, then do another sit for the Samhain table at Club RT. Well, the spot ran longer than I anticipated. I had to rush to my room, grab my promo bag, then rush to the Club RT room. So, I was there in my costume, which I think either scared people away or got them to come to the table.

Robert Quill took the opportunity to take lots of pictures, which he sent to me.

During my Club RT session, my mother arrived. She loved the outfit and insisted on taking pictures. Once I got her registered, I insisted on changing. That corset was fun but I like breathing. A change into comfortable clothing later and we were off so I could introduce her to Flash, Dennis and Camille Anthony. They loved her.

After that we went back to the goody room (free books) so my mom could get her free books. I had already gone the day before, but wanted to make sure mom got hers. Well, she forgot her goody room ticket and had to go back to the room and get it. While I was waiting around I asked to just snoop and see what was left. The person manning the door said not only could I look around but I could take more books since they were planning on opening the room up after lunch.

Wendi, me, and mom grabbed BOXES and stuffed them full. Those got taken back to the room for safe keeping. Then, we all had to troop down to the big room for the RT Con awards ceremony and lunch. I only remember one thing from that awards’ ceremony — the crappy attitude of the head waiter.

We all got seated and were being served the first course. I saw Savannah Chase standing around looking a little depressed. When I asked her what was wrong, she said there were no more seats. She was ultra-busy with interviews with her blog so was getting to places too late for door prizes and such and it was starting to annoy her.

I had the whole end of the table to myself, so I scooted over and told her to pull up a seat. A nearby waiter was about to give her a chair to use when the head waiter (guy with the walki-talkie) stopped him. He was very rude, saying we couldn’t use the excess chair sitting against the wall that no one else was using. When asked why, he got all flustered and let her use it but not before saying she wouldn’t be served since there wasn’t supposed to be a chair there.

By this time, everyone at my table is pissed. Savannah didn’t want to eat, she just wanted to sit down. To our surprise, a server brought out a place setting for her and she did eat. Maybe someone talked to that guy and told him his attitude wasn’t appreciated. Whatever the case, she did eat.

After the awards ceremony was game workshop hosted by Eve Vaughn, Selena Illyria, Adrienne Kama, Shara Cooper, Bridget Midway, and Liz Andrews. It was hilarious. We played Dirty Minds and Pin the Junk on the Hunk. I won a giant chocolate bar that I gave to my mom. When she won, she picked up the t-shirt I wanted. Flash got a HUGE gift basket.

One of the clues for Dirty Minds (rules of the game are to guess the mundane word not the dirty one) was “I’m supposed to be straight”. I raised my hand with a mischievous grin and, once chosen, said in a nice loud voice, “The EC Cavemen!”. Everyone fell out laughing. I got a few weird looks from some PR people but it was hilarious.

That night was the vampire ball. Not my best costume but I did dress up. The Vampire Ball is dinner theater hosted by Heather Graham and her entourage. The show was hard to hear, the acting was non-existent, the singing was bad, and the food sucked. The highlight of the night (besides leaving) was when one of the actors sand Hotel California. Dennis held up his lighter and started waving it back and forth. Flash and I held up our cell phones. When we looked around, people were following suit. One person was even using their table centerpiece. It was too funny.

After a dessert I couldn’t eat since it was chocolate, we all beat a hasty retreat.

The last of the RT fun is in the next post.

Sidenote: Promo Lane

This is a sidenote post as to something I mentioned in the previous post. I didn’t want to make the previous post any longer than it already is.

Promotional Lane Fiasco

Promo lane is a first-come, first-served type of situation. You put out your promo in the first available spot and make sure it’s filled. I found such a spot and laid out my baskets (2) full of stuff and Monica Burns’s stuff (she mailed me her stuff to put out).

Now, here’s the deal: I found a spot that had five little stacks of business cards and nothing else. It was a huge empty spot so I thought, “Woot! Here’s a spot.” I moved the cards over (which according to RT Con rules are supposed to be in a container of some sort), keeping the formation, and put out my stuff then left.

I came back later that day to see if I needed to do a refill and my baskets were moved to the edge of the table, almost falling off. I didn’t know what the deal was until a guy wearing an EC model t-shirt (because he’s an EC model) came up asking if I was Zenobia Renquist.

My first thought was he was a reader who had sought me out. WRONG! The conversation went something like this (paraphrased since my memory isn’t that great).

Guy: Are you Ms. Zenobia Renquist?
Me: Yes I am *smile*.
Guy: Why did you move my wife’s stuff? Don’t you think that was rude?
Me: *smile drops, replaced by worried look* I kept them the way they were laid out and just moved them over a little.
Guy: And you don’t think that was rude? We had water bottles set out.
Me: There were no water bottles here when I got here just a big empty space.
Guy: We were going to refill them but your baskets were in the way when we came back. You can’t just move people’s stuff like that, it’s rude.
Me: Okay.
Guy: *walks off*
Me: *wants to bash him over the head with a heavy blunt object then stuff his body down the laundry shoot*

Instead of giving in to my want since I’m a wimp, I’m left standing there feeling like crap because I pissed this guy off and I didn’t mean to. His wife’s promo (I’m leaving her name off ’cause I don’t want this jerk or his wife hounding me over the internet) consisted of unmarked Deer Park water bottles and her business cards. It’s my theory, since they left the water in the 24 pack trays, that one or two people just made off with the entire tray. But that’s just a theory, I never saw it happen.

So I refilled my stuff, repositioned the baskets so they didn’t fall off the table and went on my merry way. I found Flash and Eve Vaughn and told them about the situation, hoping to put it in some perspective. They got pissed on my behalf, which I was happy about. I thought I was being too sensitive, but I had a right to be mad. It was that guy being rude, not me. I made an honest mistake but his handling of the situation was beyond rude.

There was NOTHING on that space that said it was hers and she was breaking RT rules by not having her stuff in a container. There were just business cards and that was it.

The next day another table showed up and I claimed it. Camille Anthony put some of her stuff out too. The water bottles were present in the their usual spot with those business cards but I didn’t pay them any mind.

But you want to know something funny that I thought was amazingly karmic and made me feel better about the whole thing:

One of the times I went to refill my baskets, I noticed that not one, not two, but THREE other authors had done the same thing I had. They moved that chick’s stuff over and put their stuff out since (like me) they saw a huge empty spot with nothing in it and took advantage of the opportunity. I wonder if her husband hung around lurking to fuss them out too or if he saved that just for me.

And as a sidenote in the sidenote, that chick and her husband spent the majority of RT looking pissed off. I know because they kept walking past me (I think it might have been on purpose since they glared at me every time they saw me). Why would you spend that much money to go someplace and have a bad time? That makes no sense to me.

Topic: Last Minute and First Day

Oh yes, there is more last minute madness to be had. You remember those little metal baskets I mentioned in the 11th Hour post. Well, they found a home in the Samhain giveaway bags. At first, Samhain hadn’t planned to do giveaway bags since they had so many left over last year, but they decided (last minute) to do them but only 80 instead of 250.

Unfortunately, I only had 50 baskets since I’d originally planned them for the bookseller bags. But that was okay. 50 was better than none, right? So, I used my remaining gift bags, candles and condoms and paired them up with business cards and bookmarks. Then, viola… instant gift. By this time I was a gift bag stuffing pro since I had spent the night before stuffing 400 recloseable bags.

What was in the recloseable bags, you ask? That was my promotional lane materials. I had heart-shaped York peppermint patties, heart-shaped cherry lollipops, bookmarks and business cards.

Originally, I had planned to do surprises in each bag and have tissue paper obscuring what exactly was in the bag so people wouldn’t get all the really good stuff. Well, you know what I said about the 11th hour in my last post. I was two days away from driving to RT Con 2008 and in no mood to screw around with sizing and cutting tissue paper and whatever else I would have had to do to make it oh-so-pretty. Not to mention, I really didn’t feel like adding anything else to the mix. I had a few condoms left over so a few random bags got those, but that was it so far as extras were concerned.

In one night, while watching Highlander: The Source (oh, don’t get me started. There’s a post about this coming up, you can be sure), I got my Samhain contribution and promo lane stuff stuffed and ready to go.

The very next night/morning (Wednesday 16 April), I hit the road for my 4hr road trip to RT Con 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA. I had originally planned to pack the car the night before so I could just get up, wash off, jump in the car and go. Well, the 11th hour kicked my ass and I was too exhausted to pack the car (this would be one of the pitfalls of procrastination).

Instead of being on the road at 4am, I didn’t get out of the house until 4:30am. I didn’t really get on the road until 5am since I stopped to get breakfast from Dunkin’ Donuts. Overall, the drive was completely uneventful. There was literally no one on I-70 East. I saw one car every few miles and a truck a little more often. That was the lightest traffic I’d ever seen… until I hit Pittsburgh.

I made wonderful time, only speeding a little (I never go more than 10 over the posted and that rule has served me well). Then I hit Pittsburgh and my good time went to pot. Traffic was a parking lot for 5 miles out. I kept calling Stephanie “Flash” Burke and Wendi Felter (owner of RRP) to chit-chat just so I wouldn’t be bored.

When I finally got into Pittsburgh, I got lost on my way to the hotel. With me, that’s bound to happen. I’m very good at getting lost. Though, I’d like to partially blame the Hilton’s construction and the big rig accident. There was a big rig accident right in front of the hotel. In my bid to avoid the accident traffic, I turned right when I should have kept going straight. I didn’t realize the hotel was right in front of me since all I saw was the ugly construction.

So, I’m cruising along trying to figure out where the Hilton is when my gas light starts blinking. Oh crap! Now, the general rule of thumb is that you have at least 50 miles once the little light starts blinking. Not with my car. I have 30-40, depending on if I’m in the city or on the highway, since I only have a gallon of gas left.

Well, I was frantic to find a gas station since I didn’t want to be stranded in an unknown city. THERE WERE NONE! I had to drive five miles out the other side of Pittsburgh just to find a stupid gas station, which ticked me off. But, I got my gas, I didn’t have to walk, and I was on my way back to the hotel.

After getting turned around and calling for directions (which got me even more confused ’cause the operator didn’t know the city as well as they professed), I arrived at the hotel at about 9:30am. I was pleasantly surprised when they let me have my room since check-in was at 3pm. So far as the hotel is concerned, that was the last good thing to happen.

Hotel valet parking was full, so I had to drive down the street for self-parking. The hotel has trolleys to carry your stuff to your room but the guests can’t man them, the bellboys have to do it (tips and all that). Well, I didn’t know I had to wait in my room for the bellboy so I went out and parked my car before it got towed, which is the impression the valet-greeter gave me when I left it to take care of check-in.

I got back to my room thinking my stuff would be there and it wasn’t. So I called down to find out what happened and they sent the bellboy up again. After relaying via phone the parking situation to Flash and Wendi, I went down to see what was what.

I met up with lots of people (duh). The biggest to-do of the day was Wendi’s room not being ready. As I said before, check-in was 3pm but her room wasn’t ready until almost 4:30pm. Naturally, they complained to the manager and corporate and got a lower rate because of it.

Thanks to the madness of check-in and waiting around for people and trying to meet up with people I didn’t get to any panels. I managed to get my promo out (there’s a side story I’ll post about later) and got some food.

Wednesday night was the ebook fair. I got to sit next to Nicole Austin and we chitchatted the time away. That two hours went quick. Nicole (and the other EC authors) had to cut out early so she could get ready for the EC Hollywood party.

I managed to meet lots of lovely readers and booksellers and other authors. I got business cards and I think I even hooked a few new readers (I hope). My ploy for getting attention was wearing my jaguar-eye contact lenses and having my black panther plush Kuroisama on the table. I got lots of questions about him and everyone loved him. He’s definitely visiting RT Con 2009.

The EC party was great fun. Flash, Den (her husband), and me danced the night away. The music kept switching from modern to 70’s but it was all good. Flash and Den scandalized a few people when she threw her leg on his shoulder (that woman is flexible despite her many run ins with cars and shopping carts).

I was so thankful to finally hit the sack that night.

Topic: Eleventh Hour

The 11th Hour… Every procrastinator in the world knows that phrase because it means waiting until the last minute to get everything done.

I’m a serious procrastinator and getting ready for RT Con 2008 finally enlightened me as to why. πŸ™‚

The weekend before RT Con 2008 (April 10-13) I had to get stuff ready to send off to the hotel via UPS. Originally, I didn’t know I’d be mailing off my contributions to the bookseller bags (gift bags prepared for 100 booksellers attending RT). I thought I’d arrive (I drove), hand over my contribution then go on my merry way. Though, it totally makes more sense to send it in early since most people arrived early and the RT Con staff wanted the bags waiting for the people not vice versa.

So, I took over the floor of my living and got to stuffing. I made two types of gifts. The first was the bucket gift. A small tin (or maybe it was aluminum) bucket with embossed hearts all over it. I stuffed inside this bucket a romance-theme-shaped soap (pair of lips, twin hearts, a heart with words like “true love”, etc), a tiny shower puff, a single use personal lube, a condom, two business cards (one to keep and one to give away) and a promo CD.

The second was the plastic champagne glass. Inside this, I stuff cellophane and silver shred, a tiny champagne bottle party popper, a red/pink rose, a scented heart red/pink tea candle, two business cards, a single use personal lube, a condom and a promo CD. In the case of both, I wrapped them in a gift bag.

That was a lot of work and it took almost five hours. I thought it wouldn’t take more than two hours. But, my issues with accurately predicting time needed for a project are a subject of another topic. ;P

The very next day, I got it all boxed up and over to the UPS store so they could ship it to the hotel by the due date, which was no later than 12 April. A 56lb box going UPS ground, using some of their packing material, cost about $78. Not bad for the 11th hour, huh?

I pulled it off, but you’re probably asking what did I learn. Simple, I leave stuff until the last possible minute so to make myself stop over-thinking the project ahead. I had planned something much more elaborate with the champagne glass gift that included a tiny metal basket (used those later) and I was having issues figuring out how to bag the champagne glass due to its length.

11th hour means stop messing around and get it done before it’s overdue. I axed the basket with the idea that I could use it for another promo some other day. The idea of stuffing the glass in the gift bag so the stem stuck out the bottom and tying it off that way came to me while doing the buckets.

I agree with the many who say procrastination is bad. If you can get stuff done early and have it ready, that’s all the better. But for the people like me who work well under pressure, sometimes the 11th hour is the best time to do things. Though next year, I’m getting everything made and finished in March so I’m not so stressed in April.

News: Back From RT

I do plan to do a series of blogs about RT but I just had to post this vid of the fairy ball. I’m number 118.

News: Serenity and RT

Serenity is sinking. I hit #2 for only a few hours and then got bumped to #4. Now I’m occupying #5 again. My goal is to still be on the list for this fourth week. While I’m sad its sinking, I’m glad I got to #2.

As of this moment, I’m in the 11th hour so far as getting ready for RT goes. I have a bunch of little things left (laundry, packing, et al) but all the major stuff is finished. I’m planning to post pictures of the RT mayhem. If I have time, I may even post from RT — that is, if the internet connection is worth anything. We’ll see.