Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ROMANTIC TIMES CONVENTION REVISITEDIt was five days’ worth of fun, meeting new friends and getting reacquainted with ones I’d met at earlier conventions. Not to mention getting to know EC's cover model entrant for Mr. Romance, John Fish. and to see the great costumes (Tawny Taylor shown, right, in her outfit for the Faery Ball).
Sure, there were some possibly newsworthy happenings…the kinds of things that always draw the attention of vultures of the tabloid press and their readers alike. If you’re interested, you can learn all the details, fully embellished, at various online blogs. Let’s address some of those juicy bits and move on to the many good things that went on last week.

Yes, a cover model and an unidentified woman apparently did a little impromptu dance after the official program at the EC Fantasy Party that offended some attendees. Yes, there were reports of some groping going on, both by cover models from different publishers and by a few women who wanted to get a little too close to the hot young men. And yes, one of the Mr. Romance contestants went off the deep end and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital on Saturday night. (He was not an EC model, by the way.)

These were isolated happenings. For the most part, the convention was a great celebration of the romance genre where the RT staff and publishers created venues where readers, booksellers and authors could get together and celebrate a mutual love for the genre in its many forms. I enjoyed every minute of networking, sharing news and just plain schmoozing with old friends and new acquaintances.

On Wednesday, I joined 70-some-odd Ellora’s Cave authors in stuffing goodie bags for the EC Fantasy Party. Then, off to dress for the newest RT event, the ebook expo, where I gave away chances on a Sony E-reader to every buyer of one or more of the books in my Heart of the West series. It didn’t hurt, having the gorgeous cover flats EC had made to promote each of its authors’ ebooks being featured at the expo, especially when those covers featured the hot faces and bodies of the EC Cavemen on scene! I consider myself lucky to have had not one but two covers (one ebook, one print one) featuring John Fish.

Then there was the party. Each EC author was recognized with his/her own star on the Walk of Fame. The Cavemen escorted us onstage, so we could show off gowns in the tradition of the Golden Years of Hollywood. While we sipped mimosas and snacked on fruit dipped in a chocolate fountain, we were treated to a skit set to “I’m Proud to Be an American” that recognized the heroism of the men and women of the military during the years following 9/11/2001. Dancing followed, to the lively music provided by a DJ.

Mixers, workshops and panel discussions consumed most of Thursday and Friday during the day, with a break for the RT Reviewers’ Choice awards luncheon. No, I didn’t get one, but hopefully next year…

Thursday night was the Faery Ball, this year with an undersea theme. First prize for costume went to Kevin Beard of the RT staff. He dressed as King Neptune. EC’s own Tawny Taylor got second place for her gorgeous outfit that had the look of rippling waters, tied with another attendee whose outfit was unique (but whose name I don’t know). I didn’t enter—just put on a beach-y layered skirt and a top intended to look like seaweed. I’m not big on talent as a seamstress, needless to say!

Friday morning was the EC breakfast, where all of us authors were presented with our stars from the Wednesday night party…and attaches with all the pockets we could possibly ever need. Hearing about EC’s plans for the future and meeting management face to face was one event I always look forward to, and this breakfast was no exception!

Heather Graham and Helen Rosburg put on the Monster Mash on Friday night. We enjoyed a steak dinner before being treated to an elaborate skit featuring members of Heather and Helen’s families. Dancing followed…and so did a visit to the hotel bar.

Saturday was the print booksigning taking up all morning and part of the afternoon. I sold out of d’Argent Honor: Full Circle, thanks to John being there to autograph copies of it (he’s on the cover). Later, the Mr. Romance competition was the highlight of the day. John won readers’ choice and contestants’ choice awards. John’s number one as far as I’m concerned—I like my cover models big and rugged, and John’s all that and more. He’s a real gentleman, and his smile would melt an icy heart!

Sunday, things wound up. Samhain hosted a party, and there were activities surrounding "Psychic Sunday", but I didn’t attend because I was anxious not to miss my flight home. By the time I got back to Tampa I was wiped out—hence the four-day delay in writing this report! See you next year in Orlando… I wouldn’t miss it for anything!