Overheard at Romantic Times 2010

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?




Romantic Times

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  1. LizC says:

    Well, the book trailer totally worked on me.  And from now one, whenever a Regency mentions a “gaming hell”, I’m going to picture rakes and dandys betting their fortunes on a game of jenga.

  2. Kelly S says:

    I have been loving the tweet from RT!  The photos of the couple in red plether were a little disturbing. Anyone find out why they were wandering in public dressed like that?

    How long are the codes good for?

  3. Julie T says:

    You know I normally don’t like book trailers. But this one actually gives me the urge to go to her website and check out the series. Mission accomplished.

  4. Karen H says:

    That book trailer rocked!  I haven’t read her work yet but now I definitely will!

    Oh, and, no wings (I’m also not really a joiner but an observer).

  5. LisaC says:

    Okay, I’ve never read Tessa Dare but that book trailer sold me. If she’s half as creative with her writing as her movie making, I’m in for a treat. Well done.

  6. orangehands says:

    RT is in LA next year? Hmmmm.

    And I gotta say, that Cherry comment on the previous post STILL has me giggling days later. She got on my buy list with that.

    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.

    I think this is one of the best and most fascinating things about being a book lover. I became part of a great group of diverse people because the only thing we have in common was the love of a specific romance author; that’s pretty fucking cool.

  7. SonomaLass says:

    I’m going to RomCon this year, but I really hope to make RT in LA next year. (Not to mention IASPR, but that’s all academic, really.)  I did fantasy and gaming cons in my younger days, and it’s the same sort of thrill—hundreds, even THOUSANDS of people who share your interests and passions.  You can discuss, debate fine points, air opinions, but no one is going to treat you like a loon for caring about it all.

    The development of the online romance community means that live events give us the chance to meet in person people whose views and opinions we already know.  I have enjoyed meeting people at signings, and I’m excited at the thought of all the readers, authors and editors who will be together at these larger events!

  8. EC Sheedy says:

    Loved Tessa Dare’s trailer. Brilliant!

  9. Nadia says:

    Tessa Dare’s book trailer is full of awesome.  I would have read the books anyways, as I enjoyed her first trilogy, but Ken, GI Joe, and nekkid Barbies?  So there. 

    One of these years, I am going to get to a conference, because it sounds like pure fun.  It may be after the kids are done with college, but I will get there.

    spam word: needs17 The pile of nekkid Barbies on my dining room aka playroom floor needs 17 shiny satin poufy princess dresses.

  10. Sarah, I have been trolling SB, DA, RT, and other blogsites for scraps from the convention.  Thanks for the funny “overheard” out-takes!

    What sessions have you attended that rocked your socks?  At last year’s RT, I enjoyed the historical panel with you, Jane, and Kathe Robin (RT reviewer) – the three of you were so knowledgeable about the history of historicals!

    Are you going to RT in Los Angeles next year?  Yes, just a quick hop over the Pacific Ocean!

    What types of panels would you attend if you were here?  Although I am a reader, I prefer the writers’ panels (and genre) as I enjoy hearing about “the craft.”  But I do like the “author chats”.

    And, most importantly, wings or no wings?  No wings.  I’m a watcher rather than a dresser.

  11. Tessa says:

    The trailer rocks, and I’m not just saying that because I can identify all of the toys featured (although my 4 year old has “styled” the hair of all of the Barbies so now they could only star in horror flicks).  Or because we have the same first name, which turns out to not be as unique as my mother hoped.  I have pre-ordered the trilogy on Amazon.

    No wings.  Though I’m reminded of the line in The Dark Crystal when Kira saves Jen by jumping off the cliff and unfurling her wings and he says “Wings?!  I don’t have wings.” And she replies, “Of course not, you’re a boy.”

  12. Marsha says:

    That trailer!

    Sold me.  Anyone who can represent her work with such evident enthusiasm, humor and lack of preciousness automatically goes in the TBR.  Who knew that scoundrels and rakes play Uno?  A nice change from whist, I say.

  13. Bernita says:

    That is the sweetest trailer ever.

  14. Joanne says:

    In my next life I’m going to have the name Morgan Doremus – and everyone is going to have to call me Empress Morgan Doremus.

    Re the Tessa Dare trailer: “the studs put their heads together”. Okay, I admit, I’m giggling like a tween here. Well done Ms Dare.

    Thank you Sarah.

  15. Tarja says:

    The book trailer totally worked for me and made me feel like checking out the book in Tessa Dare’s website. Well done!

  16. Meredith says:

    Wow.  I’ve never read a Tessa Dare book, but now I’m totally impressed by her clever book trailer (and the covers of those books were very intriguing, too), and she might have gotten a new reader that way.

    My favorite overheard line is definitely the “one orgasm away from Bingo.”  Hilarious. 😉

    And thanks for the coupons!

  17. CupK8 says:

    Sadly, RT is at the worst time for me – smack in the middle of finals. Probably won’t be able to attend next year either.

    And wings. Definitely wings. 😉

    Tessa’s book trailer = win. A creative solution indeed! I can’t wait to read the book she writes that puts Optimus Prime against a pirate ship!

  18. Sandy says:

    So jealous!  I wanted to be there desperately, but this is the week before the Advanced Placement exam, and I love my students too much to abandon them before something so important.  Would LOVE to know if any readers there even know who the hell I am!! 
    Have a super time, ladies!  Wish I was there…

  19. JamiSings says:

    First off I have to disagree with the Canadian mullet. Sorry, but the only man who made a mullet look good is Richard Dean Anderson and he’s American, baby.

    And yeah, I can see where we romance readers have a hard time admitting it. But geez, all sorts of groups get made fun of. I’m not only a romance novel reader, I also love Barry Manilow, Star Trek, and comic books and there are days I am terrified to admit to any of this because of the belittlement I know I’ll recieve.

    Then there’s other days when I proudly drive my car with the bumpersticker that proclaims “I’m single, broke, and love Barry Manilow – wanna go out?” while wearing my Barry t-shirt and blasting one of his many CDs so the entire world can hear and you might find a romance novel in my purse that I plan to read later.

  20. Sandy says:

    I’m not only a romance novel reader, I also love Barry Manilow, Star Trek, and comic books and there are days I am terrified to admit to any of this because of the belittlement I know I’ll recieve.

    I’m with you, sister!!  Straight down the line!!  But I quit being afraid to tell anyone.  In fact, I tell all 180 of my students every chance I get.  They love that I write romance, and they love that I’m unapologetic that I enjoy Barry, Jean-Luc, Julie Garwood, and X-Men.  Be proud!!

  21. If I got to sell an ovary to get into LA’s RT, I will.

    Also, Tessa Dare’s trailer, brilliant. I was trying to place the male dolls the whole time! Ken didn’t look that pretty when I was growing up. Also, that burnt out castle, is so awesome in the store. It makes cool noises.

    As for wings or no wings, I had my grandma make me Napoleonic era dress for my Junior prom. When am I ever going to have the chance to wear it again?

  22. JamiSings says:

    @Sandy – THANK YOU!

    I was starting to feel very out of place lately and needed to hear that! I’ve been playing a song lyric game over on the forum for Sherrilyn Kenyon and noticed that with a few songs everyone knows (IE: A Wonderful World) I was the only one not using modern songs but stuff performed by Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Buddy Holly, Glenn Miller, Sammy Davis Jr, etc. I suddenly felt very lonely.

    Now if someone would just write a romance novel about a woman who loves Barry, Jean Luc, and The X-Men, along with books about time traveling druids and lords who meet their ladies. LOL

    I guess it just comes from years of being bullied, I tend to want to hide and avoid more ridicule – but then other times I am proud to admit such things. “I love Barry and if you don’t like it, TOUGH!”

  23. Andrea says:

    Oh man, I love that book trailer! It totally sold me on the books although I haven’t read anything by Tessa Dare yet.  What cracks me up every time I watch it is the purple pony as the stud they all want. LOL

  24. beggar1015 says:

    Re: Tessa Dare’s book trailer

    Never mind the books, I want all those fabulous toys! I never had all this great stuff when I was growing up. I’m quite jealous.

  25. Zoe Archer says:

    Nobody calls a vaguely inappropriate game of bingo like SB Sarah.  She is also especially adept at demonstrating the Shake Weight.

  26. Babyboo says:

    I enjoyed many of the videos shown at the hotel during the conference.  Gennita Low had a really cute trailer that she showed during her book and ebook signings.  She said she was too poor to pay for one, so she told her doggies they had to help out with the food, so no treats for them till they help out with the video! These pups were too darn cute, and I just have to look at it again on Gennita’s blog:


    They did good! Hope they got their treats.

  27. Wonderful reporting, Sarah.  You and Barbara kept me in the loop.  I enjoyed every minute.

  28. Laura (in PA) says:

    That trailer is the best. The books look great, but I’ll probably be picturing Ken and his purple pony through the whole thing.

    I’m totally not wings either. But I went to RT when it was in Pittsburgh a couple years ago, and found the whole thing fascinating to watch.

  29. Mary Stella says:

    Sarah, as always it was great to see you.  I loved the discussion on Save the Contemporary.  No wonder the upper echelon of Harlequin also attended.  That kind of direct reader feedback is invaluable.  (And fun!)

    I also loved the chat with Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich.  Classic Anne—frank, outrageous, fabulous and sexy.

    Speaking of frank and sex—5 Times a Night, Sex in Romances provided some interesting facts and illuminating commentary from Kathy Love, Heather Graham, F. Paul Wilson, Erin McCarthy and Barry Eisler. 

    Andrew Peterson, Robert Gregory Brown, Julie Kramer, Gennita Low and Barry Eisler also gave an insightful presentation on Romantic Suspense.

    As far as wings-no wings . . . I usually do a little costume participation but decided to scale back this year.  So, I wasn’t fairyesque at all.  I believe I more than made up for it as the White Rabbit in the show on Friday night.  🙂

    Thanks for Saturday.  Hope to see you soon.  *raising a glass of champagne*

  30. LL says:

    “DAMN. I was one orgasm away from Bingo!”  I will have to work that sentence in at least twice during happy hour this Friday!

    Tessa Dare’s trailer was great!  Never have read her, and now I will.

    I’m going to RT next year just for the bingo. 

    Thanks Sarah.

  31. Kiersten says:

    That trailer was all kinds of awesome. And those covers are gorgeous!

  32. Jennifer U says:

    Darn Google Reader hid Tessa Dare’s trailer.  I’m glad it got mentioned in a post over on DA.  Totally fantastic.  I can’t wait to see how Optimus Prime and the pirate ship get used in her next trailer!

  33. Katherine says:

    Thanks for the tidbits about RT. I’m trying to decide which line is my favourite – while I feel it my patriotic duty to pick the mullet line, I think ““DAMN. I was one orgasm away from Bingo!” is the winner.

    Q – I just tried to use the discount code to buy Stray at allromanceebooks.com, using discount code “angelaRT2010” and it isn’t working for me. The other two codes worked great. Any idea what’s happening? This is my first time using ARe.

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