I’m just back from a four day trip to the alternate reality of a writers’ conference. And not just any conference: the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. It’s kind of like a regular writers’ conference on acid. There are costumes, pageants, skits, and awards shows. There is also the largest author signing I’ve ever seen and one of the highest concentrations of sheer author talent I’ve encountered yet. It was the ultimate high/low experience filled with shiny things to look at, outstanding pitches to be heard, and a gaggle of my clients to hang out with. There's lots more info, including photos and video after the jump!
The first day alone, I got to spend lots of quality time with some of my favorite authors (the ones I make money off of). I started out at panel on young adult paranormal novels featuring a bunch of authors, most importantly (duh) my own client: Carrie Ryan. Someone used the word “liminality” four times. I felt it was too early in the morning for the big words. Post-panel, I had the chance to grab lunch with another client, Julia Templeton, a romance author who is beautiful inside and out (and is a much better writer than me, so she wouldn’t have stooped to that cliché). Then I grabbed a drink with Michelle Rowen who most deservedly won the Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance for the delightfully titled TALL, DARK, AND FANGSOME. At the award ceremony, Michelle tried to call me out in the audience which was a happy surprise…until I tried to holler back and made a sound like a dolphin choking on a canary. I was later treated to a dramatic reading of some terrible erotica by the hysterically demented Mark Henry. And the evening ended with the Faerie Ball (what else?) on which Richelle Mead held court. Literally. She was on the “Faerie Court.” Not to play favorites, but hers was the best costume on the court.
I was not smart enough to get a picture of said costume. But I DID get pictures of other folks who entered the costume contest. Let’s take a look!
And then there was the blue faerie.
Basically, RT is about doing work during the day--pitches, breakout sessions, workshops, etc.; and then partying it up at night—the Faerie Ball, the Vampire Ball, and the Mr. Romance Pageant. Curious about those last two? Happily, I have video.
The Vampire Ball is hosted by author Heather Graham and includes a skit every year, I’m told. This year’s was a totally crazypants mash-up of Dexter, Twilight, Alice in Wonderland, and about a dozen other sources. You know things are going to be interesting when Dexter starts singing “Twist and Shout.”
But the piece de resistance is the Mr. Romance competition. Apologies for the pretty rough camera footage. I’d have tried to get closer, but putting yourself between 500 women and six shirtless cover models feels awwwwwwkward.
The trip had a few highlights for me. One was getting a chance to take most of my clients out to lunch (minus Julia Templeton who was scheduled to leave earlier :() but including E. S. Moore whose book is on submission now! At one moment, folks started relaying the stories of how they reacted when I first got in touch to offer representation. It was completely surreal and also really exciting to have a chance to hear the stories from their perspectives.
Another high point was author Diana Rowland’s creepy doll which had a habit of turning up in the least expected places and being, well…creepy.
I LOVED getting to go to the book signing which was open to the public and featured literally thousands of enthusiastic readers. In addition to my own clients, Michael Bourret’s wonderful author Heather Brewer http://www.heatherbrewer.com/ was in on the action. Here she is signing with determination.
I got to meet dozens of amazing authors who were extremely charming, and I avoided sounding like a crazed fan with all of them—even Charlaine Harris (seasons three AND four of True Blood are a sure thing!).
But better than anything else, I got to eat Gator Balls which happily don’t include gator or balls. Instead, they’re cheese wrapped in chicken wrapped in bacon and then deep fried. My arteries are still weeping.