It took me 8 hrs to make the 3 ½ hr trip to Houston. We took off on time, but some severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings had us circling the airport for an hour and a half. Then they closed the airport all together and we were running out of gas, so we headed to Austin, Texas to land. Spent an hour and a half in Austin, then were finally able to get to Houston. Thank goodness the hotel hairdresser was still able to blow out my hair even though I missed my scheduled appointment. Bad conference hair is never a good thing so I am forever in debt to my hotel hairdresser.
The first night was the Moulin Rouge party. Serena Robar dressed up in the most adorable can can girl outfit. I was lame and costumeless for this one – you can only buy so many outfits without breaking the bank. Liz and I took video of the event, interviewing authors and just being silly. We’re making a documentary of the event—I’ll let you know when we’re up and running. Then there was dancing – I danced with this adorable cover model named Travis. I’m not usually into the cover model thing, but he was so sweet and so NOT cheesy. I had to make an exception. Also, he seemed very genuine – not like the type who was just flirting because he was trying to win the contest.
On Thursday, Liz and I hung out in the morning at Club RT, where we talked to readers about the new Shomi line. Then we headed over to the Dorchester spotlight, where our publishers were giving their spiel. We handed out Shomi temporary tattoos and bookmarks to the attendees. Then Liz, Cindy Holby, Serena Robar, Barb Ferrer, Chris Keeslar, and I ventured out of the hotel in search for someone to eat. After I vetoed Coney Island hotdogs, we eventually found Healthy Burger, which was yum. Chocolate shake, grilled cheese, and air baked fries. Mmm.
That afternoon I captained three hours of the Young Adult panels. I was really happy how it went. We had good attendance and people seemed really interested—asking intelligent questions about the industry and what publishers were looking for. The first session was especially fun as we had MaryJanice Davidson and her husband Anthony Alongi, talking about their Jennifer Scales series. MJ is awesome, plain and simple. Later, she actually plugged my Boys that Bite book in her comedy vampire panel, which was sooooo nice of her. I love when big name authors are so open to helping us little people. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. The NYC version of her.
That night, we ate at the restaurant at the top of the hotel. It was one of those rotating ones. The food was excellent, but the rotating made me dizzy. I had to sit with my back to the window and not turn my head.
Later, we attended the fairy ball. Liz and I went all out, dressing up as bad girl fairies. Liz had on a black wig and little devil wings. I had a bright red wig and a plaid, punk rock outfit with fishnet wings.. We spent most of the night in the bar, talking to Tim DeYoung, vice president of sales of Dorchester who had just arrived. He is so nice and even bought us ice cream bars! J I love how approachable and cool Dorchester people are. Writing for them makes us feel like we’re part of a family. It is truly the best place to get your start in the writing world.
Friday was the big awards luncheon. I won a Reviewer’s Choice Award for Most Innovative Historical Romance for What, No Roses?. That meant I had to get up in front of like a thousand or more people and give a speech. Argh. I was so nervous. But I got through it and everyone said I was “so cute” so I guess I didn’t mess it up. The blinding white lights were pretty intimidating though. I got a very nice plaque that I’m going to hang up on my wall. So cool – now I am officially an “award winning author.” I love Romantic Times Magazine!! I also love Kathe Robbin, the reviewer who gave me the award. Not just because she gave it to me, but because she’s so nice and supportive.
Friday night, after a bunch of us went out for Mexican food, I brought my laptop down to the lobby and we watched a bunch of silly YouTube videos. People were so into it, it became difficult to wrestle my laptop away so I could go upstairs and dress for the vampire party. I went as a teenage vampire slayer. (You can see a pic in my previous entry.) The music was terrible so we didn’t stay too long. I wish they’d instruct the DJs better for these parties. I mean, think about the audience! Play fun wedding tunes – not bad 80s hip hop!! We hung out at the bar instead, but I was so tired from the previous two nights I didn’t last too long.
Saturday was the gigantic book fair. It went fine, though there were less teens buying books this year than last. Probably because last year the conference was on the beach in Daytona. More of a teen friendly spot. I still met some cool people and it was a good experience over all. I also got to tell a lot of people about the Shomi line, which is always good.
After lunch, we had a bookmark binding party. Liz and I had to bind 27,000 bookmarks in stacks of ten by the end of the conference. We’d been working on it all weekend and were now at critical mass. Luckily we had some great volunteers!! Including Jennifer Ashley’s darling husband. You guys rock!!
Saturday afternoon was the Mr. Romance pageant. Dorchester was the sponsor this year, which was cool because the cover models dressed up as the heroes in various Dorchester books. And there was actually a Robin Hood, based on my book A Hoboken Hipster in Sherwood Forest. It was indescribably cool to see a cover model walk out on stage dressed as one of my characters!
After Mr. Romance, Liz and I went to a pizza party in MaryJanice Davidson’s suite. (I won a t-shirt – woot!) Then we donned our costumes and went to the Dorchester Bookseller event. We dressed as our characters from our Shomi books. I had a black vinyl jacket (like Trinity in the Matrix) and a black wig. I’ll post a picture of us once I find one. We sat and chatted with the Publisher’s Weekly blogger, Barbara Vey, for a while. She is the sweetest, nicest person ever. We love her! She took a pic of us with her in our costumes - hopefully she will post it so you can see. :)
Then we headed to the Dorchester sponsored Immortals party. I had to ditch the vinyl jacket and wig because it was just too darn hot. (Plus the darling Gerri Russell had on the same jacket!! How embarrassing!!! hehe) I went and danced up a storm with Gena Showalter, PC Cast, and Marjorie Liu. Then the party ended and I hung around goofing off with a bunch of people before heading down at the bar. (That’s when the silly dragon pics were taken!)
The next morning we woke up and went to the airport! A great time was had by all. I really have a great little posse – Liz Maverick, Alyssa Day, Barb Ferrer, Serena Robar, and Cindy Holby – you guys make it all so much fun!
I saw Carol Stacy (the RT Publisher) at the baggage claim and she’s like “You’re going to do this again next year, right?” Oh yeah! Definitely.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007