Sunday, April 26, 2009

Romantic Times Orlando

While my other buddies are at RavenCon in Richmond, VA I was in Orlando at the Romantic Times convention. This is a nearly week long blow out. Unlike the Romance Writers of America annual convention, which tends toward business, this one is fun. Think stag party for women. It was smaller than in previous years due to the economy sucking, but being held in Orlando certainly didn't hurt.

Melody (a dear friend of mine) and I motored down to Florida on Monday. It was an eight-hour trip. Tuesday we were off to Universal City to plough around and try some of the rides. I can recommend the Terminator show. Way cool. Unfortunately some of the rides had specific warnings about those of us with head/neck issues so I didn't get to give some of them a try. Bah. From that point on Melody went on a crusade for beads for her art projects and I dove head first into RT.

Wednesday I attended a few panels with one of my writing buddies, Jeri Smith-Ready who writes that fab WVMP "Lifeblood of Rock n Roll" vampire series.) We'd met earlier in the day and she was kind enough to introduce me to Rachel Vincent and (squeeee!!!!) Ilona Andrews. I've made no secret of my adoration of Ilona's most excellent Kate Daniels Series. So I gave her fair warning, went momentarily fangirl, and then chilled back out. I even got my copy of MAGIC STRIKES signed at the book fair. Grin. I have also made a note to read Rachel's new Y.A. book that should be out soon -- teenage banshees. Should be a kick.

Wednesday afternoon was the e-pub, small press booksigning. I handed out sample copies of SOJOURN, which I term a "gateway drug". If folks like the first three chapters, they're back buying the series. Which they were on Saturday during the big signing (see more later).

Thursday morning was the Mystery Chix and Dix breakfast. We had a blast! Lots of readers and booksellers showed up to nosh their way through the food and listen to us talk about our mysteries. Great fun. Later in the morning I was on my only panel for RT: How to Write A Mystery. It went very well. I also got to catch up with Carole Nelson Douglas. Later in the afternoon I attended the Y.A. panel Robbing the Cradle: How YA is Taking Urban Fantasy By Storm. It was very informative, especially since my agent is currently shopping my Young Adult Urban Fantasy in The Big Apple(TM). It was great to finally meet some of the big name authors who pen Y.A. Nice folks.

Friday I hob-knobbed with a few of my readers at the Club RT function, then sat in on Alex Sokoloff's Screenwriting Tips and Tricks for Novelists and Screenwriters. Alex(andra) is a screenwriter and novelist, so she knows her stuff. We met at Left Coast Con (a mystery convention) a few years back. It was grand to run into her again.

Later Friday afternoon I got to attend another panel I'd been anticipating: The Good, Bad and The Paranormal which Ilona moderated. The ladies (and one gent - Mark Del Franco) discussed kick butt heroines in Urban Fantasy. It was a fun panel!

Now for those of you who have attended RT you will have noted that I didn't mention the evening's festivities such as the Ellora's Cave Party (billed as for adults only), the Faery Ball or the Vampire Ball. I blew all those off. My roomie and I would go out to eat, then come back to the room and settle in. I know others had a lot of fun at those events, but I was just happier to chill out with a good book (in this case it was WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE which is Kim Harrison's latest).

Saturday was my final day at the convention. The big booksigning was from 11-2 and I sold a LOT of books. 15 to be exact, which is pretty awesome given my books retail for $19.95. Folks who had read the sampler came back for the series. WOW. I bought Melissa Marr's latest (FRAGILE ETERNITY) and chatted with Ilona for a time before we hit the road. My roomie, who is a thoughtful sweetie, handed me a bag full of munchies the moment I got in the car. She knew that I'd be wasted from 1) no lunch and 2) schmoozing with the fen. So she fed me. I love friends like that.

We had such a fine time we're thinking of hitting RT in Columbus, OH next year. Great town. And maybe by then I'll have a vampire costume worked up. Who knows?

Off the road for a week and then hubby and I are vacationing in Chicago. Wheee!!! And then it's back to work on the Y.A. book. Must get some words on page just in case someone buys the critter.

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