RT is difficult to describe to someone who isn’t familiar with romance novels, with fan conventions or with the way avid women readers feel about their books. For example, I told someone recently that romance novel readers have a noise they make when someone mentions a book they adore as well. Sort of a heavy sigh, like an extended, “Aaaaaaah.” I’ve said before that two romance readers might not have a single thing in common except the books they read, and that alone gives them hours of conversation.
However, I am guilty of forgetting, and I need to be more mindful of this, that so many women do not talk about the romances they love because if they do so, they’ll be mocked for it. They don’t have people to talk with about how much they adored the latest Anna Campbell novel, or how incredibly powerful that book by Ann Douglas was. They might interact online every now and again, but at RT, there are enthusiastic and avid fans in line everywhere, and there’s no snide remarks about loving romance.
So many authors I’ve spoken with adore coming to RT because it is uninterrupted and extensive time to speak directly with readers, with fans of their books and with people who are curious about what to read next. Kate Duffy once described RT as the conference where people push the editors out of the way to get to the authors (and RWA being the reverse, where folks push the authors out of the way to get to the editors).
I’ll be totally honest: while I don’t see a thing wrong with getting dressed in costume for balls and parties, with wings and corsets and hair adornments, that’s not my thing. I’m not a costume person, and I much prefer to look at everyone else’s costumes than wear one myself. And now that luggage is $25 a bag to check, and I know that wings aren’t carry-on-able, I look at the elaborate costumes for the fairy ball last night and think how admirably awesome it is to see people make that much effort, use that much time and pay money to bring their costume to attend a party that’s basically all about books, reading, romance, and romance fans. I may not have wings, but I definitely stop to admire those who do.
So as is my habit at RT and RWA, I present: Overheard at RT. Each comment is something I did overhear, and I’ll explain the context for some, while others totally stand alone.
“This was my first attempt at airbrushing my costume.”
“There is a man. In red leather. Being led around on a leash.”
“I was wondering why there was red leather butt on the 2nd floor balcony.”
“DAMN. I was one orgasm away from Bingo!”
Bad Boy Bingo with Alyssa Day, Victoria Dahl, and Cindy Holby was a packed house. The prizes included books, champagne, treats, candy – and in one lucky winner’s case, a underarm workout machine.
“It takes a Canadian to make a mullet sexy.”
Ok, this wasn’t actually said. It was on a t-shirt sent to KristieJ by Susanna Kearsley for Mulletgasm I. At the bar, KristieJ and I had a drink, I crowned her with the Mullet, and she unbuttoned her flannel to reveal the fine, fine visage of Keifer Sutherland back in his mullety-vampire days, proclaiming that yes, Canada’s mullets do reign supreme. KristieJ is one of the people writing online today that I have a tremendous amount of respect for – and I always learn something when I talk with her. Even when she’s wearing a (hideously awesome) mullet. She and her roommate, Nath, are really enjoying this year’s conference – and KristieJ hasn’t been to an RT convention in 10 years.
“That camera looks heavy. Flex the arms, yo.”
Laurie Kahn is a documentary filmmaker who is embarking on a project about the romance industry and the community within it. She is a recipient of grant money from the RWA for this project and is in the process of applying to the National Endowment for the Humanities for additional grant funding for what she hopes will be a comprehensive and personal look at the romance community, including writers, readers, RT, RWA, RomCon, and communities online and off.
Laurie has been filming different sessions at RT, and as I’ve gone form session to session, I’ve seen her talking with authors, aspiring writers, readers, cover models and RT staff. If you’re at a conference this year (or next) and you see her, introduce yourself. I’m so excited about her project and hope it is as good (if not better) than her documentary on the powerful women behind “Tupperware.”
I don’t have an “overheard” for this one, but at the launch party for the RT website, I was chatting with Tessa Dare, and she showed me her new book trailer for her new series. She filmed it herself, and I think it’s a good blend of silly and cute, and works well as a book trailer. Stay tuned to the very end where she talks about props she wishes she could have used in the film.
The RT website launch party was a BIG ol party- with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Morgan Doremus, the webmaven of the RT site, had collected absolutely mammoth prizes in each romance genre – literally there were laundry baskets filled to the top with books. She told me some had complete series in side them, and others had a mix of ARCs and printed books. It was tremendously cool.
“I love covers that have elements from the story. I like covers that have context.”
“I like covers that show the man’s chest, in jeans, with one button undone.”
Readers are outspoken at RT, and the Save the Contemporary session Jane and I led today featured authors Victoria Dahl, Louise Edwards, and Julie James, and a veritable posse of readers and authors who were fans of the contemporary romance, including Mary Stella, Susan Donovan, and Beth Kery. We discussed characters, plot elements that date a book like smoking or pop music, and cover images. Readers were so divided about what makes a good cover for them, but the discussion was so valuable for me because the conversation revealed how much readers are passionate about contemporary romance. I hope we can do the session again at RT in Los Angeles.
And finally, if you’ve read all the way to the end, you get a prize. Woo! AllRomanceeBooks.com and OmniLit.com created 50% off coupon codes for the folks who attended the session on digital reading devices that Angela James, Jane Litte and I led this afternoon. We each picked a title to recommend for folks who wanted to try reading a digital book, and with the coupons listed below you get half off that title if you want to try it.
Jane picked What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss and the code is janeRT2010.
I picked Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis and the code is sarahRT2010.
Angela picked Stray by Rachel Vincent and the code for that book is angelaRT2010.
The codes are case-sensitive so be ware that you get the capital RT in there.
So, what sessions have you attended that rocked your socks? Are you going to RT in Los Angeles next year? What types of panels would you attend if you were here? And, most importantly, wings or no wings?