RT Convention: A Quick Recap

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.

16 thoughts on “RT Convention: A Quick Recap

  1. Actually, one of the more amusing comments that I’ve heard you make was at RWA D.C. in 2009 when during one workshop you uttered this playful phrase about your agent and fans, “I kiss major butt.” This was immediately toned down by Kristin (lovely woman, that), but it was greeted with much mirth by several of us audience members. We get your wit and understand that Kristin is watching your reputation. Must be a full time job. 😉

    If you are in Orlando in 2010 and signing, I’ll be bringing my copies. And cheering you on for Not Quite A Husband. Nothing to inspire romance like being trapped by a besieging army.

    I’m sad that Delicious is not up for a Rita, but I didn’t notice that it was a 2008 book. Rats. Delicious is one of my all-time favorite romance novels. I was really hoping that I’d be cheering you on for a Rita for Delicious this year. I’ve been buying copies of it and mailing the copies to friends all over the country (and a few not in the country).

    I simply can’t wait for May 25, 2010. I WANT THAT BOOK!!!! You’ve been teasing us for months with excerpts. _His At Night_ is going to be Mine That Morning.

    • I actually laughed out loud at “I kiss major butt.” I’d totally forgot I’d ever said that. Am beginning to think watching my reputation, as you say, must be a full time job. Probably that’s why nobody is doing it. 😉

      Yes I will be there at Orlando. Look forward to seeing you. And hope HIS AT NIGHT lives up to the wait.

  2. Sherry, I have a picture of Stephanie Burke (the stilt girl) on my Facebook, You can lift it if you like. 🙂

    It was fab seeing ya and dancing with you at RT. Loved the mashed potato bar, it was SUCH a great idea I, too, and ‘menu-lifting’ it soon. Loved the mix of people, such a soup of creativity to indulge ones appetite for romance publishing!

    I hope you come to L.A. next year, I promise to behave better. Ok, that’s a lie. I’ll probably still be a bit naughty and drink just as much. But next year I may not start a conga line. There is hope!


  3. Sounds like a blast! Love the gift baskets, you crafty creature, you.

    LA. Hmmm, I’m about due a trip to the West Coast.

    Also cannot wait for His at Night next week!

  4. Sherry, with just a day or so to go before the new book comes out, is there any chain bookstore in particular where your fans will be buying? Online orders don’t really count as well as bricks-and-mortar store purchases. Not many book fans know that fact.

      • I think that Borders would be a good choice because Borders Group also owns Waldenbooks, so there are a lot of stores out there in shopping malls and easy places to reach. (517 Borders + 300+ Waldenbooks and other outlets)

        Barnes & Nobles has more stores if you count the college bookstores (according to Wikipedia, 777 stores and 636 college bookstores), but the Spring semester just ended for most colleges so these 2 weeks are in the “Dead Zone” at most campuses (Dead Zone = really quiet weeks).

        I figure that tomorrow I’ll swing past Borders and buy the copies that are there. Typically they’ll start with 2-3 copies. Ours will probably have 3. And I’ll put a request in for a few more at the desk to bring the total to 5. That will equal a “turn-out” on the shelves. (For those fans out there, remember that.) It’s a tall order, but if you can get 1500 copies from one chain in two weeks, you will likely make the Lists.

        Good luck, and know that your fans are rooting for you. (and that you have fans.)

        (Who are trying to be polite and not be weird stalker people. 😉 )

        • Oh wow. That is tremendous information. Have you worked as a bookseller before?

          And you know what? All this knowledge is rather wasted here in the comments. I would ask you to do a guestblogging post, except I think it deserves more traffic than what I get here. Have you ever thought about putting together the specifics into a guest post at a place like Dear Author, with a heavy interest in the industry side of things?

          And thank you very, very much for being willing to go out to Borders.

          P.S. And I am quite confident that my fans are all lovely and delightful, not a single stalker among them. 😉

  5. Sherry-

    The AAR website gave His At Night a very nice review. Their reviewers can be a bit unfair at times. Were they correct that a certain secondary character from PA makes an appearance? I don’t want to say the name in case it’s a spoiler.

    • Hi Kim,

      I like that review. Would definitely have taken an A over a B+, but the review itself is very complimentary and highly quotable. 🙂

      And no, it’s no spoiler at all to say that Freddie from PA is in HIS AT NIGHT.

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