Saturday, May 27, 2006

At last--RT

It’s hard to give a recap of the Romantic Times convention, really. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with so much going on at one time. Seriously—the place was buzzing with activity and I can’t help but think that I missed out on a lot. But what can you do except clone yourself?

Anyway, let’s get with it. First, I must say that the location was superb. The events were held at the Hilton Daytona Beach Ocean Walk Hotel, which was relaxing and amiable. I almost felt as if I were on vacation, sneaking out to the pool and taking a walk along the shoreline every once in a while.

But enough of that. You all want to know about the parties and gossip, don’t cha? Okay then.

Wednesday, May 17
Judy Duarte and I awaken early to lead an “Opening Hooks” workshop for the Beginning Writer’s Program. We think it goes really well, with lots of enthusiastic participation from the audience. (And if any of you happen to be reading this—hi!) We get to judge some fabulous opening hooks in a contest, and it’s hard to decide who the winner should be. We finally wimp out and give about four more prizes beyond first, second, and third place because we just can’t make up our minds.

Then it’s on to a Harlequin panel, hosted by Randall Toye and Tara Gavin. Here, we get a sneak peak at the new Nocturne line. Gorgeous covers, and I cannot wait to read Kathleen Korbel’s launch book about faeries. Karmela Johnson, author and Bombshell extraordinaire, asks about the future of our kick-ass heroine line. We all hold our collective breath for an answer, because this subject is kind of the elephant in the room and we’ve been wondering about Bombshell’s prospects, too. There have been a lot of marketing and distribution challenges for these books since they don’t neatly fit into “romance” or “mainstream” niches. Where do you shelve Bombshells? In the series section of a bookstore, where romance readers can easily find them (even though this means stalwart single-title readers possibly won’t find them because they might not think of visiting or even want to visit “that” section)? Or do you put Bombshells among the “regular” titles, removing them from a series section that highlights their presence for already-converted romance fans who are familiar with the line? We wondered why the novels couldn’t be shelved both places, but apparently that doesn’t work in bookstores. In the end, I’m not sure what will be done with Bombshell in order to make the line a higher-profile success (sampling was one option), but we were assured that plans are being made….

After that, it's lunchtime with some kind of Turkey mystery meat gracing my plate. You know—basic conference food.

But, again, that’s not what you want to know, right? You want to hear all about the partying, so here goes. Michele Scott, author of MURDER UNCORKED and MURDER BY THE GLASS, throws a wine tasting social, and I am soooooo there. Great fun chatting with booksellers, authors, and readers. Consume a tad of champagne. Just a tad. Then it's off to….

…the Ellora’s Cave party.
Ca-razy times, people. In the darkness of the ballroom, which boasts big screens with images of spicy EC book covers, male cover models wander in shirtless glory. I’m new to the RT thing, but I think the guys were trying to garner votes for a contest (We had Disney commitments, so Judy and I left Saturday after the booksigning. Sorry I can’t tell you anymore about Mr. Romance than that.). Aside from the annual Harlequin/Silhouette party at RWA National, I’ve never seen so many happy women dancing together in one place. I have the privilege of hanging out with Beverly Brandt, Karen Kendall, and Rita Heron. Good times, but I’m reluctant to report that there are no major scandals. (At least, not on my end. Uh-uh. Who me? No, never.)

And, guess what? I’m going to be a tease and leave more RT reporting until my next blog. That’s partly because I like cliffhangers and partly because I need to get my butt to “real work”—revising my novella for a February Blaze collection.

Cheers for now….

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