My RT Convention experience would have been twice as good, but alas, at the last minute, my roommate, the awesome and babelicious Tracy Wolff could not make it. (It’s a sign of my love for her that I don’t hate her, she who literally writes ten books a year and is a RITA nominee.) We cussed and consoled ourselves with chocolate cakes. Tracy, of course, had the far greater cross to bear: not being able to go at the last minute! But I was crushed all the same: I’ve never been to a conference alone. RT is something new and alien; I’d counted on Tracy’s familiar presence and her engaging ways with people.
So off I went, all by myself, deeply dubious of my ability to enjoy myself. And guess what? I managed to have a pretty decent time, thanks to all the wonderful people I met and re-met along the way.
Stuff I can remember now:
- I had to open a box of shea butter tins for airport security. The security lady asked, “Oh, are these wedding favors?” 🙂
- My fellow Austinites Emily McKay, Robyn DeHart, and Hattie Ratliff were in attendance. We hooked up for various meals throughout the conference, and came back home together. Thank you, ladies, for adopting me and raising me so well!
- I made my first two gift baskets ever. The baskets were bought from a neighbor’s garage sale at a quarter a piece, I shredded construction paper I already had at home for the filling, cut lengths of Christmas ribbons, and discovered such a thing as pre-sized basket bags at Michael’s. All the pieces were packed separately in my luggage and assembled in my hotel room.
Aren’t they cute? I was so insufferable with pride that I recounted the entire process step by step to my Austin friends, who were kind enough to listen to my long how-to soliloquy–and only later let on that they’d been doing gift baskets for years!
- Went to the Ellora’s Cave Ball the first night and danced, as I hadn’t danced in probably ten years, with Zoe Archer and Carrie Lofty. Woo, these ladies have moves. And boy, Carrie can shake those hips something fierce. Picture here. I only regret the picture didn’t show my bad-ass shoes.
- KristieJ in her mullet wig. If you don’t know the backstory, KristieJ was robbed of her rightful victory in the Great Mullet Showdown, USA vs Canada–those Canadian mullets were so divinely terrible–and had to wear a mullet wig. But she looked really cute in the mullet! Hats off to KristieJ for carrying off a mullet with aplomb.
- The centaur woman at the Fairy Ball. The other costumes were nice and beautiful, but the mostly naked lady centaur on stilts blew me away. Of course I forgot to take a picture. If anyone knows where to find a picture online, please let me know.
- Actually having time to go to workshops. I’ve been so overbooked my last few RWA conventions, so it was really nice to get around to a bunch of writer workshops at RT. The quality is just as good, and the crowd is much less so I could ask whatever questions I wanted.
- The Carina Press launch party. A mashed potato buffet! I had three helpings and now I wish I had even more. That’s the kind of party I’m throwing next time at home.
- Hearing the numbers called for the superstar authors at the RT Book Fair. “Charlaine Harris, 850-875.” “J.R. Ward, 910-925.” Oh wow, can you imagine having that long a line of readers waiting for you? I want. I want! (I also met Kathe Robin, senior reviewer of RT, in person at the signing and she was so sweet.)
- Mr. Romance competition. I am an avowed hater of mantitty, but the competitors seemed overall a nice group of young men. My favorite was an actual male writer who was roped into the competition. He’s written a book on 37 philosophers and their bad choices in love–which saddened him so much that he turned to romance for comfort, or so his intro said. Smart Bitch Sarah, seated several seats down from me, screamed “MARRY ME!”
- Julie James and Beth Kery also semi-adopted me during the conference. When we met last year at RWA D.C., Julie told me that she wrote heroines who are slightly more sexually experienced, but not sluts by any means. According to her, I replied breezily, “Oh, I write sluts.” I was, of course, astonished to hear this. But it does sound like the kind of stuff I might say when I’m in the mood–which is quite often. 🙂
And yes, the tins of shea butter disappeared really fast.