Aka: My thoughts on the Romantic Times Convention. (As for why this title? Well… you’ll have to read on.) First of all, it was held in Columbus, Ohio. I think you all know I love the Buckeye Nation. I’m quite attached to it, and for good reason. (GO BUCKS!) On my “RT Report”… let me apologize now. I’m totally out of the loop and unpopular, and wasn’t invited to any special author room parties, or author lunches and author/reader get together type things. And as this is being posted you know, well over a week after the actual event, everyone else has already said what you’ve wanted to hear – the juicy good stuff, and actual event run downs.
I thought it’d be weird to run around as “Limecello” – so I went as “me” – or “Elle Cello, Reader.” We had some mishaps with my name tag, but eventually I got it – and I wish I had the name of the woman who printed it out. She looked so harassed and I was very grateful she squeezed me in right before shutting down on Wednesday night. Granted, I had been hovering around the desk off and on (mostly on) for the past three hours. And been told the previous day that my badge would be ready first thing in the morning. (Hey, no badge = not allowed into anything. It’s important.)
I’ve always heard that the Romantic Times Convention is a reader-focused event, but that’s definitely not the impression I got, from the RT Virgin thing, to the end. I heard some colorful language in regards to thoughts about this RT compared to previous ones. I know there was a significant focus on book sellers this year, and all of them seemed quite pleased, so one supposes that’s a good thing.
I was grumpy Lime at times because of sleep deprivation… but I did have fun overall at RT. (Just, you know, not enough to entice me to go back.) In fact, let me tell you my highlights. I got to meet and play with Shiloh Walker. She has awesome fruit wines. I can’t be bought with books or e-arcs… but this blueberry wine she had… Anyway Shiloh is super fun and hilarious and definitely not adorabubbles. (Pst – she is, but don’t let her know I said that. She’ll come after me. And possibly vomit a little. On me. Not cool.)
Totally tongue in cheek here – believe it or not I don’t look like a lime, and I’m, in fact, not even green. It made me difficult to recognize. For a very short period I amused myself by picking out authors, and smiling politely, wondering if they’d say hello. We’d be standing in the same group/within a few feet of each other. (Most didn’t. It’s ok – authors are solitary types and not necessarily social creatures. I wasn’t feeling the social butterfly vibe so I didn’t put myself out either.)
I had dinner with Shiloh Walker, Beth Kerry, and Julie James on Wednesday – which was totally random, and fun. They were chatting books. Shiloh and I bumped into Beth and Julie later at the EC party, and Julie James made me take a picture of the infamous EC Cavemen. She’ll deny it, but she said I had to. I have witnesses. I resisted until the bitter end, and, in fact, missed most of the show, and only got a picture of all the cavemen turning away, as you can see. During, Jay (one of the Mr. Romance contestants), Julie and I played a game of one-upmanship using the EC covers on the decks of cards at each table. I hands down won with the card that had a corgi on it.
Actually most of my favorite parts of RT happened off the conference site. Major highlights were meeting Ali (@simplyali), and Joy (@JoyfullyReviewd). Yes, twitter was my connection to 97% of the people there 😛 Those two were basically my constant companions and partners in crime for a number of events. I also took them out of the hotel to a few local bars. (Ok, so we stopped at the second one. Brother’s. I’ve got more stories about that but those are better left for another time and place. We had cheap – as in not expensive – drinks, and Joy introduced me and Ali to Patron. In fact, the saying “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor” – is not true.)
Prior to that, I went out for happy hour with the super fun, and super nice Lauren Dane and Anya Bast. We went to Due Amici, where they disappointingly didn’t have any happy hour drink specials, (boo site that lied to me!) but did have fantastic appetizers. I now regret not taking pictures, but we were having too much fun chatting, eating, and drinking. And rushing. We were on a tight schedule. Otherwise, another personal highlight/victory was convincing the concierge from the Crowne Royal that I was staying at that hotel and getting a ride around the city. 😀
I also have something about me that makes people tell me very strange things. For example, one of the Mr. Romance contestants told me he only has 4% body fat. Then an author’s husband told me he and his wife were together for XX years, but it took them ZZ years to get married, but now he lives in state AB and she lives in state CD. Believe me – it was weird and awkward. It was basically his introduction and I have no idea why he was telling me that.
I also met Lucy Monroe (and her husband), Shelli Stevens, Carolyn Crane, and Jess Granger. And others. I’m avoiding listing more people because I don’t want to forget anyone. I have to mention Carolyn though, because I walked up to her, and said “Hi Carolyn, I’m Limecello.” And she stood up and said “Oh! Hi it’s so nice to finally meet you and put a face to the name!” Then we talked a little bit more, she signed her League of Reluctant Adults passport, and I left. I then tweeted updates, and Carolyn said “Wait, I met you?!?!” This was on Thursday, so I proceeded to tease her mercilessly for the rest of the convention. I even rudely yelled across our table at the Fairy Ball to reintroduce myself. It was good fun. And the rest is extraneous.
Oh – right, the signing. I hated it. Too many people. Reminded me of Times Square which I also abhor. Also I lived essentially without my luggage for two days, so I had nothing… but after that, I made Ali and Joy go to Louisa Edwards’s event with me. Free booze! It ran against Mr. Romance but… well – you can look up the “#mangeant” tweets. And, I wasn’t blown away with the whole thing… (The Mr. Romance competition, I mean. Although I saw some pictures and oh man camo pants and bad dancing? Still. I have no regrets.) Anyway – Louisa’s event was hands down one of my favorite parts of “official” RT. And I’m not saying that just because I won a bottle of rose petal infused vodka.
Finally… Saturday night. Ali, Joy, and I tried to leave the hotel again, but 280 N. High Street defeated us and we couldn’t figure out the plaza. So we went back to the hotel bar, broken hearted and discouraged. I took the heat of the hot wings I ordered personally, and was determined to defeat them. I did. Then, we moved to the bar area, and caught Jess Granger as she was about to go to bed. We had some awesome conversation, and for some unknown horrible reason Joy brought up strange shifters. Were-trees were definitely mentioned . Then, were-ducks. Jess proceeded to traumatize us with stories about ducks on her campus…and mating season. Considering here at the pond we’re duckies… it was too good to pass up.
I also have to give Jess a shout out because I may or may not have threatened to bring the wrath of God down on her if she was lying to me/us about the number of books in her current series. (Seven to nine books – now you can all help me keep her accountable.) However, my feelings/rant on series is fit for another post.
Oh, and I’m sure I offended some people. I’m not a very gushy person. I squee and eee when I’m happy. Even in person. But nothing particularly set off my “whee” meter at RT. I actually met some authors that I’ve heard of but haven’t read/haven’t read in a while, so I had nothing to say. Considering how “big” [as in successful and popular] a few of these authors were, I think they expected more “yay!” from me. Sorry there. A few awkward silences occurred when I was introduced and followed with an “Oh hi, It’s nice to meet you.” And then… silence. Awkward, of course.
In the end… I don’t think I’ll be going to another RT. Or, at least I don’t plan on it, and I can’t particularly see what would entice me to go. I know other people loved it and had a great time, and others said “well at least it wasn’t the worst one I’ve been to,” but… enh. So for those of you who missed out… or are feeling totally crushed, personally, I didn’t think it was anything super special.
I also felt that books people were getting were grudgingly given. Maybe it was the last day burn out. But that’s the vibe I got from the start. I won a grand total of four books during the whole conference, but managed to get more at “free for all” type things. And, I got some swag in promo alley and at the book fair. I hate crowds, however, so I only hit up a few authors and then sat along the side of the room.
I am giving away a swag bag, however, stuffed pull of promo items – signed and unsigned blurb books, bookmarks, cover flats, pens, knick knacks, and… 5 books. That’ll be on twitter so find me there.
And, of course, I’m happy to discuss more etc in the comments.