Monday, May 03, 2010

RT Booklovers Convention Recap

I've been preparing to go to the RT Booklovers Convention held in Columbus, Ohio for what feels like forever but was more like a few weeks, month at the most. The big question is: Was it worth ignoring everything except it?

Yes and no.

Yes, because it is always nice to get out from beneath the laptop, and talk to like minded folks. Readers! While I met and met again some fantastic authors, it was the aspiring authors, readers, booksellers and librarians that boosted my energy levels.

The "no" comes because of the lack of time. There were some really interesting panels and they were over before they started. Every panel I went to had another one going at the same time.  So that's both good and bad.  Although it would be nice for more fresh - relevant and informative - material.

Frustrating, but totally worth going for having fun. That was short, sweet and to the point of my RT 2010 experience, here the extended version.

I arrived on the second day of the conference, but it was my Day 1 and even though I made it an hour earlier than I'd expected, it was a mad dash. After checking in, dropping luggage off in room, I went down and sat in on a friends panel, saw Eliza Gayle - a great lady and author - and met one of my cover artists - Kendra who did the spectacular Good, Bad & Kinky covers - for the first time, and then went to two more panels, and a third to support a friend. Next was a publisher [Samhain Publishing] event with booksellers [met Bonnie Dee and she's a real sweetheart, caught up a bit with Samantha Sommersby, and found the fabulous Queen JC Wilder sitting outside - she absolutely glowed]. From there, I put on a red sweater, and went to the Ellora's Cave Paint the Town Red party. Luck of the draw gave me a tall handsome man to escort me across the stage [prime place for tripping, but didn't], and then it was off to help man the swag table.

Like I said, it was go, go, go from the minute I landed and that meant I never had a chance to do any of the things I promised the cutie I'd do whilst there - eat, take my medicine or put my feet up. So I wasn't surprised to crash and had to go up early.

My Day 2 went more smoothly and it started with sitting in on a publisher's spotlight that interested me. Will I submit to them?  Maybe, I'll do some more research and we'll see.  From there it was a couple panels with a publisher lunch for its authors in between. Next was the RT Book Reviews ceremony and while I love supporting other authors achievements, I was horribly uncomfortable - the chairs, ugh. The only thing I came out of that event remembering is that Barbara Taylor Bradford gave the Brotherton Library [to the right thanks to Light Night Leeds] at my school, University of Leeds, her archive. Okay, I admit it was hearing Brotherton and Leeds mentioned and that sparked my attention. Later, for the first time ever, I went to the Faery Ball and think Stella Price [horns] and Stephanie Burke [entire costume] were dressed to the tens.

My Day 3 went even better, established my routine and went to two really good panels - maybe because they were handled well, informative and relevant, and coherent. After those two were finished and lunch had, it was off to Club RT and I was late. Hate being late, but thankfully the fabulous Stella Price made it not so bad. I chatted with all sorts and then, while not really paying attention, placed a shoe box on a bigger box and the table toppled over with a huge bang. Silenced the entire room. Didn't loose any toes, but it was close.

From there, it was time for the 'Ebook, Indie Publisher, Multimedia and Graphic Fiction Expo'. The authors I sat with [Cat Grant, LB Gregg, and Kathleen Grieve] were all wonderful. I briefly saw and chatted with C.H, Admirand [local to me author and met her husband] and Alessia Brio [the lady in charge of the Coming Together alturistic series which I strongly support] before the doors were opened.  Last but not least was another party I usually pass on, the Vampire Ball, and again Stella Price [that's her to the right and you can check out her photo album on Facebook] was the cat's meow of costumes. The lady is seriously creative.

My Day 4 was also my last. I checked out and then went to set up for the 'Giant Book Fair'. Before the doors were opened, I caught up with Francesca Hawley, a fabulous lady and author. Unfortunately my latest book, Double Punch, wasn't there but I still had fun talking about Hamish from Highland Heat and Hephaestus from Hephaestus Lays Down the Law from the two books I did have. Sitting beside me was Cat Grant, Kathleen Grieve and Donna Grant - another lovely lady.  Nothing can prepare someone for the wildness that is a Giant Book Fair.  Many people come prepared with not one but two or three suitcases to fill with books - yes, SUITCASES!  My advice is don't get fussed with the crowds, it is what it is - enjoy the experience.

When it was time to go, I said my goodbyes, and shared a cab with Carrie Lofty to the airport. From their it was all good - easy flight, no lost luggage, and we went for a Chinese takeaway on the way home.

I know there were many more people I met and chatted with, trully enjoyed spending time with [Ann and Robin], only I have a sieve of a mind for names - I'm sorry.  All in all, it was fun, great to see and chat with everyone which for me is the best part of events [booksignings to conferences], and it feels so good to be home.

The question now is:  Will I go next year to the one in Los Angeles?  Southern California in the Spring?  Maybe, okay a strong maybe.  It always depends on what else is going on in life, but I am thinking very seriously about it.  Besides, my family is nearby, and a visit to the beach and the total relaxation it offers me, is always wanted.

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