Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

Topic

RE: 25 Erotica Lit Tropes That Need to Die

This is my first time writing a response to an article I’ve read online but I couldn’t leave it alone and commenting on FB wasn’t enough.

So let’s talk about the Cosmo online article 25 Erotica Lit Tropes That Need to Die posted on 12 November 2014 at 1:29PM…

First things first — Erotica. Does the author of this article mean Erotica or Erotic Romance? For a long while, the two have been used interchangeably but they do not mean the same thing. Many industry people still use one to mean the other but Erotica is a separate genre from Erotic Romance. I could write an entire post about the differences, but it’s easier to just link you to Passionate Ink’s definitions. Since Passionate Ink is the Erotic Romance special interest chapter of Romance Writers of America© (RWA), I’m going to assume they know what they’re talking about.

Now the short response to this entire article is IT’S FICTION. We’re talking about woman’s FANTASIES. People read Romance (Mainstream and Erotic) and Erotica as an ESCAPE. Too much reality ruins the mood and the writing. But I didn’t start this blog post to give a short answer. Let’s jump into the article, shall we?

1. Women climax on demand.
If the title in question is a BDSM Erotica/Erotic Romance, then yes, she does climax on demand. I’m sure many women in the lifestyle could tell stories about having an orgasm on demand.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s talk about non-BDSM titles that include the same. The “demand” or “command” from the Hero is showing is alpha personality and how he’s in control of the Heroine’s pleasure. Since Romance is chock full of alpha heroes, of course he’s going to demand/command she orgasm and the heroine is going to listen.

2. “I come undone.”
I can’t say I’ve ever heard a woman say this, but then I’ve never had sex with a woman. Have I said it? Nope. To say that no woman has never said it aloud or otherwise is a gross generalization. “I come undone” is no different than saying “I lost it” or some other variation of that phrase.

3. Women come from penetrative sex.
The article author dismisses the notion outright. According to Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller’s blog post on the topic “researchers found that 55% of the women reported having reached orgasm during intercourse solely from penile movements at least once before…” Citing a real world study veers off the “it’s fiction” argument, but hey I like facts.

4. Women never have bad pain or hesitation when he wants to put something up their butts.
Granted this complaint is realistic. A lot of books I’ve read (hell I even wrote one before I did some actual research) just jump into anal without preparation. The human body doesn’t work like that and there are times when fiction has to bow before reality. This is one of those times. There are many articles on how to prepare for anal sex and they all pretty much say the same thing — take your time, go slow, and have lube on hand.

5. “My sex.” It’s called a clit.
6. “His length.” It’s called a dick.
I’m tackling these two together because my argument for both is the same. Euphemisms, synonyms, and allusions keep prose interesting. Every editor everywhere will tell you that word repetition is a HUGE no-no.

Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist (200x300)Let’s see an example from my Contemporary Erotica title Wine Service using the above mentioned suggestions:
 

****
She moved closer to him, placing her nipples near his undiminished dick. “Are you going to drink the wine now?”

“No. You are.” After uncorking the bottle, he tipped the bottle over his dick and poured enough to wet his dick. “There you are.”

She stared as the wine trickled down his dick and over his balls. “I can’t.” She swallowed with her lips pressed together to keep her tongue in her mouth. The urge to taste the wine and Mr. Malena’s dick with it urged her fingers faster, and she stroked her clit so she satisfied at least one need.
****

 
Now here’s how it appears in the actual title because the above hurts to read and I know my editor is probably itching to correct it…

 

****
She moved closer to him, placing her nipples near his undiminished erection. “Are you going to drink the wine now?”

“No. You are.” After uncorking the bottle, he tipped the bottle over his dick and poured enough to wet his length. “There you are.”

She stared as the wine trickled down his shaft and over his balls. “I can’t.” She swallowed with her lips pressed together to keep her tongue in her mouth. The urge to taste the wine and Mr. Malena’s dick with it urged her fingers faster, and she stroked her clit so she satisfied at least one need.
****

 
I’m sure you noticed the difference. Which do you prefer?

7. Men are infinitely more sexually experienced than their partners.
[Begin Sarcasm] Because there’s nothing I want to read about more than two people fumbling their way through sex. [End Sarcasm] When the Heroine is a virgin (and she usually is), the Hero needs to know what he’s doing. On those rare occasions when the Hero is the virgin, the Heroine needs to know what’s happenings. In either scenario, someone needs to have some kind of experience beyond “the colors of the wind.” (See Disney’s Pocahontas if you don’t get that reference).

It’s also a sad commentary on our society that we expect men to be experienced while women stay chaste. However the chaste woman who has never done this before ever should totally be a natural, because that’s how sex works. (<- more sarcasm) 8. Quivering thighs caused by sexual arousal.
To answer the article author’s question — HELL YES. If your thighs aren’t shaking/quivering/quaking, then you’re doing something WRONG. There should also be toes pointing, eyes rolling back into your head, and heavy breathing bordering on panting too. And I’m not referencing books on this one. I’m talking real life experience and I’m sure several women would say the same.

9. Climaxing from almost nothing, like, he blows on her nipple.
I’ve never had it but a psychological orgasm is a thing. Ask anyone in the BDSM community. A skilled Dom/me can make someone climax from words alone. A single touch or blowing across the skin can trigger it as well. It’s all about preparation, anticipation and possibly blindfolds.

10. No one sees anything when sex is had in a car.
I gotta agree with this one. It’s all part of writing not to have characters get caught when in real life they would have been brought up on public indecency charges, but that’s the fun of fiction. No one gets caught unless it’s part of the plot. Is this something I think should stop just because it lacks realism? No. This goes back to the women’s fantasies argument again. And maybe the car has really dark tinted windows.

11. Desire “pools in [a woman’s] belly.”
Ummmmm… I’m not sure how else to describe the sensation. Arousal causes certain physiological responses in a woman’s body from a tingling sensation to a dull ache (voice of experience). And the “pool” comes from the vaginal walls lubricating in preparation of the intercourse to come. Since everything in that part of the body is inevitably blamed on the stomach (or belly), that’s where the sensation is described as happening.

12. UTIs don’t exist.
Yes this is Erotica/Erotic Romance’s worst lie and everyone knows that. Leave it alone. While I would never write an anal-to-vaginal scene without a condom change, those who do aren’t going to talk about possible yeast infections et al in the middle of a sex scene or after. Yuck. Talk about ruining the mood. WOMEN’S FANTASIES. No one gets a UTI unless it’s a plot device. Just like no woman who’s been letting the hero go bareback for the entire book ever gets pregnant unless it’s a plot device.

13. The “sex god” likes to wash her hair when they take showers together.
Not every guy in the world is a hound dog only concerned with sex. As one person said on my FB wall when I posted about this article there, her fiance not only washed her hair (he offered), he also shaved her legs.

14. Shower sex is the HOTTEST THING EVER I COME UNDONE OMIGOD. Shower sex IRL is never as good as regs dry sex.
This is a matter of OPINION. The article author is allowed to have said opinion but to enforce that Erotica/Erotic Romance authors should stop writing about it because her experience with shower sex wasn’t that great is ridiculous. I wouldn’t do it. Knowing my luck, the hubby and I would end up in the hospital from a slip-and-fall accident. But I’m sure there are plenty of couples out there that swear by shower sex and would have it all the time if their water bill and water-heating bill allowed it.

15. The couple does it like seven or eight times a day and still has time to go out to eat and work at jobs.
FICTION! Enough said. Is it realistic? I don’t know. There might be a couple out there who has managed to fit in seven to eight sessions of sex in their schedule. Maybe they work from home or have quick-quickies. Maybe they have no kids and thus can have wake up sex, after they get ready sex, lunch break sex, after work sex, before dinner sex, after dinner sex, and pre-bedtime sex.

16. Women have magical orifices that are not only resistant to infections but also require no lube ever.
The original #16 had two typos I corrected. But moving on… Speaking from personal experience again (TMI ahead)… I don’t need lube. I get plenty wet all on my own. Soaking panties, dripping wet. Since that’s what I know, that’s what I write. Not all women are like that. Some women don’t create moisture (or not enough) and require lube. Some women (like me) create plenty on their own and lube would just be redundant.

17. The relationship is always love/hate.
It’s called conflict. Last time I checked, lack of communication was one of the top issues in any relationship. So if the heroine is beating herself up and hating on the hero for something “she made up some stuff in her head about him” then that’s falling in line with real life.

18. She always loves giving blow jobs. And swallowing. She acts like his penis is a damn cupcake or something.
This is SUBJECTIVE. It took me two seconds to find an article by a woman who LOVES giving blowjobs. It’s not my thing but there are women who love doing it. There’s a whole line of flavored condoms to backup the idea that women (and men) want to suck dick. I’m betting one of them is cupcake-flavored.

19. All guys are really super excellent at finger-banging. Finger-banging is like the vegan, gluten-free pizza of sex acts. It’s never your first choice from the menu.
SUBJECTIVE! Again subjective. There are videos all over the Internet about how to bring a woman to orgasm from “finger-banging” alone. The man (or woman) who knows how to do it properly has a partner who is ordering that off the menu first, last and always.

20. Finger-banging in public — like, you’re at dinner with his boss — is common.
See my comments for #10.

21. The man always has impeccable and sexy fashion sense.
What author is going to write about a slob unless he’s a fixer-upper for the heroine? In which case, My Fair Lady here we come.

22. And can dance really well at da club.
Unless bad dancing is a character trait to make the hero endearing, then yes, he will know how to dance. What’s more the heroine will know how to dance as well. Gender has no bearing on ability to dance. Youtube has proven this many times over.

23. His penis is always the size of a firetruck.
Going back to the women’s fantasies argument again. Most authors aren’t going to be writing about a guy with a half-inch dick. Sorry guys. Hard truth.

24. The characters get aroused and speak with periods. Between. All. Their. Words.
It’s. Called. Emphasis. Sometimes italics don’t cut it. There are certain things that have to be punctuated in weird ways in order to properly convey how they are spoken in real life. It’s not the like hero is saying, “Come. Period. For. Period. Me. Period. Sexy. Period.” You don’t read the periods as part of the speech. Just like you don’t read commas or question marks either.

25. Everyone orgasms every time they have sex. The man, the woman, the woman again. If. Only.
FICTION. WOMEN’S FANTASIES. What about that is so hard to understand? You’re reading this for escape from reality. As such, yes, everyone orgasms every time. The only time someone doesn’t orgasm is if it’s a plot device. Why would a reader keep buying an author who has sex scenes with no orgasms? I won’t even go into the personal side of always having sex and never having orgasms. That sounds like a conversation to be had with your partner and his/her inability to satisfy you.

That’s my response. Thoughts?

Seeing the Ineffictiveness of Promotion

Most authors bemoan the inability to quantify good marketing efforts beyond sales numbers. The idea is to get sales but to also remain a thought in a reader’s head past closing the book. When a reader is asked to name her favorite author and your name is the first to come mind, that is proof your hours spent writing and promoting have paid off.

Rarely does an author get to see or want to see how ineffective her/his marketing efforts are. The obvious indicator is low sales. Nothing drives home the message like a tiny royalty check. Sometimes though there are other ways to tell.

For instance, 01 July I took part in the #IndieBooksBeSeen promotion started by Mark Shaw on Facebook and Twitter. My hubby took a picture of me holding the covers of Serenity and Kristar. I came to the promotion late and didn’t think much would come of it but what could it hurt, right?

Imagine my surprise when a reader commented on my fanpage stating she’d been waiting for the release of Kristar.

*blink blink*

Kristar by D. Renee Bagby (200x300)Kristar has been out in ebook since December 2013. It hit 3rd party retailers in January 2014. It’s been in print since late May. Since I got the cover late November 2013, I’ve been posting about it because I knew how many readers wanted to read Chigaru’s story.

Goodreads, Facebook (my fanpage and several promotional groups), the Siren Yahoo group, headline ads on The Romance Review, cover ads on The Romance Studio (website, blog, newsletter, and release party site), guest blogs, promotional spots on blogs, almost daily tweets from Cover Reveals that I retweet, tweets from my first chapters promotional blog, four separate new release announcement newsletters, updates on my website, updates on this blog, a street team, a promotions company… The list goes on and yet that comment still remains.

How effective are my marketing efforts for gaining new readers when someone waiting for the book didn’t even know it had released? I’m shouting into the crowd and unsurprising enough, very few people hear me.

So here’s the question to those reading this now: Before this post, did you know Kristar is the sequel to Serenity? Did you know Kristar is available for purchase in ebook (Bookstrand | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo | Nook) and print (Amazon | B&N)?

,

Talking About World Building

I did a guest post on Jessica Chamber’s blog about world building. It’s my first article about writing.

Check it out

And let me know how I did.

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.

Topic: No More…?

Some of you may have noticed I’ve missed a few new release announcements. You could call it missing them. You could also call it skipping them. I’ve also missed a few Wednesday Hauls and a LOT of manga reviews. I have not however missed any movie reviews. I love to gab about movies and my blog is the perfect forum.

I’m the type of personality who will take on more and more until I can’t handle it all unless I sacrifice something else. Lately that sacrifice has been my time towards writing. It seems every time I get on my computer, I’m updating or revamping or checking something and not writing. That is one of the reasons I want a mini without an internet connection. Then I can totally focus on writing without “shiny” things on my laptop distracting me.

So, I’ve decided to sacrifice something else a lot more expendable than my writing. This blog will no longer host new release announcements. I love my publishers and want to support them, which is why I’ll still forward the new release announcements to my yahoo groups (and some friends’ yahoo groups so long as they let me). But I’ll no longer take that extra ten to fifteen minutes to post them on my blog. While that does seem like a small amount of time, it is just enough time to break my train of thought and yank me out of a book.

Wednesday Haul is changing because I no longer get manga at my comic shop. Something is up with Diamond Distribution where they are not shipping out manga to the comic shops and I fell waaaaaaay behind (that was the dead air all those weeks). So, I’ve started pre-ordering my manga fix from BAMM. I get the benefit of the member discount without paying for it because I’m military (AAFES site referral).

I also have a very shiny (extremely… I’ve been very tempted) new cataloging system that even comes with a UPC scanner, which will make it fast, that has been begging me to use it. I’ve been very good and sacrificed doing that until now. My book and manga collection has grown to such a point that I really need to have some sort of catalog so I know what I have (and can buy more without worry of repeats :P). Also handy for insurance purposes.

Once I input my collection into the system, I’ll then upload said catalog to my site and update it once a month or something. That means no more having Wednesday Haul posts. Actually I’m only canning those posts because I have a big bag of manga (catching up on all that I missed) that I got and haven’t wanted to input. Yup, color me lazy.

Finally the author interviews. I have interviews scheduled through mid-November. I’m hoping to fill up the slots through the end of the year. After that, I think I’ll stop. I’ve got a good bunch and they are fun to read, but having to send out reminders and do follow-ups on missing information, et al is too time-consuming.

As well, the interviews were supposed to be a promotional method to get more people to my blog and to my website since the interviewee would link to my blog and send their followers my way. I’m not sure if it helped or not.

This all amounts to time and how I use it. I admit I don’t manage time well, but that’s because something always pops up (my husband for instance — man needs a hobby). I write stuff down and plan stuff out and stuff still comes out of nowhere like mushrooms at night. So it’s time to start cutting back on the superfluous.

Not to mention, it’s going in to summer and that means movies practically every week and conventions every month. Movies means review posts and conventions means preparing promo and lots of traveling. Most of my time-sink activities get started in winter because I have more free time. Well, it’s time to end them.

Wicked Wednesday at MTM

Danielle Devon let me post my book signing rant on her blog, Minding the Muse.

——–

Book Signing: Annapolis Borders, 07 Feb 2009

Before I start off this retelling of events that took place on Saturday, 07 February 2009, I would just like it to be noted that if there is a way to get lost going someplace, I will be sure to find it. Without fail or a doubt, lost is the one thing I will do if given directions and a new locale to find.

To make the situation even sadder, I have visited Annapolis Mall a handful of times before and should—by all rights—know my way there. But, I did in fact get lost. I blame Yahoo maps partially because their directions did not indicate a left or right turn—though a right turn was all I could make—and I drove for two miles before I realized I was going the wrong way down MD-450.

So, while I had planned to be first on the scene a little before one—since the signing started at two—I ended up being fourth. First on the scene was Stephanie “Flash” Burke and her lovely husband Dennis. They wrangled up a second table so we could spread out and some chairs, which I appreciated because after working an eight-hour shift at my night job there was no way I would be standing for long.

——-

Read the full post

How To: Author Interviews

How to get your author interview posted to this blog:

It’s very simple.

1 – email me at dreneebagby@gmail.com, subject line “Author Interview”
2 – Fill out the questions I send you and then email them back
3 – Wait for your date to roll around

If you want a date in a particular month, then let me know and I’ll try my best to accommodate you. But, keep in mind that this is a first-come-first-served opportunity.

Interviews are posted every Thursday. Links to the interviews will be archived on my website for ease of reference as well as labeled on this blog.

If you think this is something for you, then drop me an email. Genre doesn’t matter.

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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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.

TBC…

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

THE BOOK FAIR

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. 🙂 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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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.

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. 🙂

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.

IR in Media

Not only is this post lazy, it’s also late. :p

The title is Interracial Romance in Media, but this isn’t any IR. I’m specifically talking about a black woman as one half of the IR couple. You see black men dating outside the race in media all the time but black women is kind of rare, even in this day. Even if it’s a side relationship in a bigger show or a simple peck on the lips before something explodes, every title is important (to me). And I know I’m not the only person who gravitates towards certain movies and shows just for the chance to glimpse an IR couple featuring a black female.

So… here’s a list of ones I’ve seen (or heard of). These are in no particular order.

Feel free to add. I’m always looking for more things to watch.

IR on TV:
– X-Men: The Animated Series
Before the movie, there was the animated series. Great show in which Storm is portrayed correctly (that’s another gripe for another time). Since Storm is the only black female in the show (with few exceptions), she does have some romantic episodes — “One Man’s Worth Part 1 & 2”, “Storm Front Part 1 &2”
– Lincoln Heights (ABC Family Tuesdays)
– Heroes (NBC Mondays)
– Boy Meets World (last few seasons)
– Battlestar Galactica (Sci-fi Channel)
– The Jeffersons
– Moesha
– Girlfriends

(I know this list can be longer. Help me out here, people.)

IR in Movies:
(Pretty much anything with Halle Berry but I’m still listing them. And, is it just me or do you see a trend. ;P)

– Something New (Sanaa Lathan & Simon Baker)
– 28 Days Later (Naomie Harris & Noah Huntley)
– Strange Days (Angela Bassett & Ralph Fiennes)
– Pirates of the Carribbean: At World’s End (Naomie Harris & Bill Nighy)
– Blade (Sanaa Lathan & Stephen Dorff)
– Supernova (Angela Bassett & James Spader)
– Monster’s Ball (Halle Berry & Billy Bob Thorton)
– Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella: 1997 Version (Brandy Norwood & Paolo Montalban)
– Three Way (Joy Bryant & Dominic Purcell)
– Queen of the Damned (Aaliyah & Stuart Townsend)
– Romeo Must Die (Aaliyah & Jet Li)
– Guess Who (Zoe Saldana & Ashton Kutcher)
– Corrina, Corrina (Whoopi Goldberg & Ray Liotta)
– The Bodyguard (Whitney Houston & Kevin Costner)
– Beseiged (Thandie Newton & David Thewlis)
– The Haunted Mansion (Marsha Thomason & Nathaniel Parker)
– Made in America (Whoopi Goldberg & Ted Danson) & (Nia Long & Rawley Valverde)
– Spawn: The Movie (Theresa Randle & D. B. Sweeney)
– Chronicles of Riddick (Thandie Newton & Karl Urban)
– Clerks II (Rosario Dawson & Brian O’Halloran)
– Sin City (Rosario Dawson & Clive Owen)
– Love Actually (Olivia Olsen & Thomas Sangster)
– Angel Heart (Lisa Bonet & Mickey Rourke)
– Bulworth (Halle Berry & Warren Beatty)
– Akeelah and the Bee (Keke Palmer & J.R. Villarreal)
– Things we Lost in the Fire (Halle Berry & Benicio Del Toro & David Duchovny)
– Catwoman (Halle Berry & Benjamin Bratt)
– Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (Halle Berry & Brent Spiner & Klaus Maria Brandauer)
– Ruby’s Bucket of Blood (Angela Bassett & Kevin Anderson & Brian Stokes Mitchell)
– Alien vs. Predator (Sanaa Lathan & Raoul Bova)
– The Truth About Charlie (Thandie Newton & Mark Wahlberg)
– James Bond: Die Another Day (Halle Berry & Pierce Brosnan)

(This one can be longer too.)

That’s me. I can’t think of more, but I’m sure you can.

Next week’s topic is Unorthodox Romance Research Sources. You’d be surprised where we get this stuff.

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