Mallory Braus and PJ Schnyder
The RT Convention in Kansas City celebrated 30 years this past week. I’ve got to tell you that it’s like a whirlwind here. Even though there are a lot of people, you quickly learn that the joy of romance is the tie that binds us all together.
There are so many workshops, panels, parties and signings to go to that it’s impossible to attend them all. You really have to pick and choose and many times get sidelined because you meet friends along the way you want to chat with. Time flies at lightspeed here.
Thursday started with a morning mixer sponsored by Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and Avon Inspire. Readers got goody bags and were entered into a drawing for an iPad mini. Inspirational authors were there to meet and eat with the readers. I stopped in a panel on Writing Diversity and New Adult. Sorry, but I still don’t get the get the category. I think kids just go from young adult to adult books, but that’s a blog for another day.
While Kensington had an afternoon book spree with their authors, Samhain spotlighted their authors with a safari theme. Joysann said, “We were welcomed to the jungle where samhain authors chatted with fans, played games like ring toss and photo ops with life size cut out jungle animals, which were really pretty cool. The tiger would look great in my living room.” The winners were the readers who walked out with lots of signed books.
Graphic novel signing
More than 300 authors were on hand for the E-book, Indie Publisher, and Graphic Novel Expo. This gave readers a chance to catch up with, not only e-books, but self-published and independent press books along with graphic novel authors.
Laura Kinsale, one of the Pioneers honored
Thursday’s big evening event was sponsored by RT Book Reviews and Entangled Publishing. The special guests were the pioneers of romance, Mary Balogh, Rosanne Bittner, Jennifer Blake, Virginia Brown Robyn Carr, Laura Castoro, Phoebe Conn, Jude Deveraux, Thea Deving Shirl Henke, Laura Kinsale, Patricia Rice, Karen Robards, Bobbi Smith, Janelle Taylor and Cynthia Wright. Dancing, I’m told, went well into the night.
Friday Joysann went to the Fountain City Jazz Club Morning Mixer. She said, “It was a fine way to brighten up an early gray day with a sip of champagne mimosas and a smooth playing jazz trio. Bingo games, prizes and schmoozing with favorite authors made getting out of bed so early worth the effort.”
I attended a luncheon sponsored by Carina Press and we played a fun game where each table of librarians, bloggers and authors had to pick models and then pose their models like the author’s book cover. My table won and our names were put in a hat for a chance to win an iPad mini and I am happy to tell you that I won! I absolutely love it and have used it for pictures, videos and, of course, already downloaded all my books.
Barbara Vey accepting the Melinda Helfer Fairy Godmother Award.
Next was the RT Book Reviews Award ceremony. I am thrilled to say I was honored with the Melinda Helfer Fairy Godmother Award. This award is given to a person who has supported romance, but is not a romance author. The L.A. Banks Warrior Woman Award, which goes to an author who has recently overcome adversity and persevered. This year that honor went to graphic novelist and romance author Anne Elizabeth. The 2012 RT Editors’ Seal of Excellence for Best Book of the Year, which went to the steampunk romance Riveted by Meljean Brook. You can find the complete list of winners here.
I was on the Great E-Book Debate panel with Sheila English Clover, agent/lawyer Eric Ruben and author Kris Tuala. It was standing room only as we debated pricing, process and content. It’s certainly a hot topic.
Joysann attended AVON’s The Little Red Slipper Lounge. Avon’s popular authors made a huge draw with signing free books. Tasty wines and lavish hors douvres were as plentiful as the lovely books and authors.
Heather Graham’s Freaky Friday Dance capped off the night. Party goers dressed up freakishly weird, but that’s the idea.
Saturday was billed as FAN-tastic Day with workshops, a Giant Booksigning and evening parties. It also was teen day and YA author, Mari Mancusi promised to send me a write up about those events that I’ll post later this week.
The Giant Book Fair featured over 500 authors. The room was huge and you really needed good walking shoes. Naturally, readers lined up early and it stretched forever. Julie Garwood and Sylvia Day’s lines were so long that they had to use tickets to control the crowd. It’s really fun to go up and down the aisles seeing the wonderful variety of genres, giveaways and promo items. Smart buyers brought bags and some even rolling suitcases for all their purchases.
Jade Lee celebrated her 50th Birthday with a roast. Ever the shy, retiring author she is, others entertained the audience with saucy tales of adventures from Jade’s racy past. Happy Birthday Jade!
Dreamspinner Prize table
Dreamspinner Press’s party had authors at tables giving away books and great food. They also gave amazing baskets and several e-readers. From there it was on to the Carina Press Cocktail party were readers were given a clue to a book and had to find the author. The final party was a dance party sponsored by Harlequin.
I did gaze across the room at a party and noticed a man without a shirt, but on closer inspection saw it was really a hotel manager standing behind a book cover. I couldn’t resist asking him to pose for a picture. His fellow employees really got a kick out of it.
By Sunday morning, people were moving kind of slow. Even though many started to head for home, there were still events like author speed dating, how many people can you fit in a bed and celebrating 200 years of Pride and Prejudice. The convention ended with Romance at Twilight with romance movies, theater treats and one lucky person winning a free registration to next year’s event.
Bottom Line: It’s exhausting, but in a good way and next year looks to be even bigger and better when RT takes on New Orleans.