RWA 2010: my second time around the block (Saturday)

7 Aug

RWA-2010-alternate-logo

Saturday

Mapquest tells me that I live some 37 miles from the Dolphin, which makes for a good forty minutes drive on weekdays—plus, the fuel gauge in the rental car was dipping perilously close to the big E—so I got myself up and ready at some truly ungodly hour in order to be at the hotel on time for… yeah, you guessed it: the second edition of continental breakfast, Dolphin version.

Adding weight to my desire to be on site early was the fact that there were going to be five (yes, you read that right: FIVE) publisher signings on Saturday, the first (Ballantine) starting at 9:00am—and the line, oh yes, the line! was bound to be fierce. I confess that it made me a bit sad that I had to skip Writing Fight Scenes, a workshop given by Angela Knight that started at 8:30—but priorities are priorities, and this is where it’s truly clear that I’m a reader, first, last and foremost: the lure of books! shiny! books! free! books! signed to me!

No contest, really.

So I called Kristie(J) while fueling, and about forty minutes later, after dropping off my overnight bag in their room again, we got back down to the ballroom, ready to tackle the lines for the donuts. We talked a bit about our plans for the day and I promised to save her a spot in the line for the St. Martin Press book signing later in the day (two words: Lisa Kleypas). We were joined, surprisingly enough, by SLWendy a little later—and I finally got to take the picture I had been waiting for since Tuesday:

SL Wendy wears Karen Scott

SL Wendy wears Karen Scott

*ahem*

With that bit of business out of the way, I went back to the well known hallway with the couches and the women sitting on the floor by the doors of two very unimposing rooms…

And this is where my memory gave up on me. See, I know that I went to all five signings and got a scary number of books by the end of the day (with judicious jaunts to the parked car to unload in between signings—otherwise I would have crippled myself).

I also know that after the Ballantine signing I spent about twenty minutes to half an hour ensconced in an out of the way alcove by the west elevators, sitting on a cleverly positioned and comfortable couch, talking with Jaci Burton and her Biker Dude—it was soooooo cool to finally get to meet Jaci! We’ve corresponded for quite a while now but fate had pretty much gotten in the way of our meeting last year (read: she didn’t attend either RT nor RWA) so it was double sweet for me. I only hope that I didn’t bore poor Biker Dude too much with my blather! :wink: I remember that I stopped writer/speaker Mikki Labbe (who I had met on Friday, at one of the signing lines…) and author Jessica Andersen as they were chatting for a moment, to take their picture.

Jessica Andersen and Mikki Labbe

Jessica Andersen and Mikki Labbe

I saw a number of conference first timers—whom I’d also met on Friday’s lines—during Saturday’s signings. It was really nice to wave and smile at each other as we crossed paths, shared a line to an author, or asked for our pictures to be taken (okay, that last was mostly me)

I do remember that I scored a spot near the front of the line for St Martin’s, which made me really happy because I got to chat a bit more with Lucy Abarcia and Kris Alice Hohls—as well as making both Kristie(J)’s and May’s day, since they are both almost rabid fans of Ms Kleypas.

Memorable moments

Watching Kris and Lucy race each other to Ms Kleypas table at the very end of the room—followed quickly by Kristie and May! Having several long and interesting conversations with conference attendees while waiting for signings—and resolving to learn the magical loop method of casting for knitting socks in the round, with circular needles (versus double pointed needles, which, frankly, scare me). Discussing different electronic readers and, addicted junkies that we are, passing around our own to any person nearby who showed an interest in them, while discussing their merits and disadvantages (if any).

Scoring a copy of Suzanne Brockmann’s Infamous (her first non-SEAL related book in years!—it had sold out during the Literacy Autographing). Seeing Beth Cornelison about to get up as I approached her table, raising my voice to say, “No! You can’t go now, sit back down!” Pause. “Unless you need to go to the restroom, then I’ll wait.” (To which she timidly responded, “I was just going to drag the books closer on the table…”—could I make a bigger ass of myself, I ask you?).

Beth Cornelison being gracious after I was not.

Beth Cornelison being gracious after I was not.

Meeting the always stunningly lovely Olivia Gates while crossing the hotel lobby—she made my day when she offered to teach me to put on make up, saying that I have “a beautiful canvas” of a face :grin: Coming from her, that’s high compliment indeed!

The lovely Olivia Gates

The lovely Olivia Gates

Teasing Lydia Dare co-authors about one of them being the mean one, while the other was the princess (“it’s all about me, all the time!”).

Lydia Dare–both halves!

Lydia Dare–both halves!

Blowing a raspberry to Cynthia Eden and having her burst into laughter, then listening to her explain to the befuddled reader waiting for her signed book that I was not a scary crazy weirdo, but a friend (thank you, Ms Eden!—while waiting for a stall in one of the bathrooms at some point during the conference (please don’t ask me which day—no idea!), we recognized each other as she came out and chatted for a few seconds right by the door of the stall! while a number of other attendees waited in line for a free stall… (Readers, we iz all sorta crazy.))

Chatting for a few moments with Shana Abé, sharing my joy at finding her Drakon series—The Smoke Thief is still very much a favorite! (and I can’t believe I still haven’t reviewed any of the novels).

Shana Abe

Shana Abe

Chatting a few minutes with Elizabeth Hoyt—who recognized my name! and invited me to email her to receive an ARC of Notorious Pleasures (which doesn’t come out until February 2011, people!). Also, in one of those weird conference coincidences, Selina McLemore (senior editor at Grand Central Publishing—Ms Hoyt’s publisher) asked me to email her if I’m interested in having my name in their reviewers/ARC recipients list7.

Crossing paths with Kim in Hawaii over and over again, and inviting her and May to share a table with us at the RITAS dinner (us being SLWendy, Rosie, Kristie(J), AnimeJune and moi—L.B. Gregg, Rosie’s dear friend and roommate, was sitting with other authors. In the end, Kim didn’t make it—she was invited to sit with the Beau Monde ladies (the poor thing, right?), but the rest of us had a wonderful time.

In no particular order, pictures from the signings (and once again, I throw myself at my gentle readers’ mercy–I know I should know her name but… who is the author in the last picture???)

Deidre Knight

Deidre Knight

Karen Rose

Karen Rose

Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig

Terry Spear

Terry Spear

Jennifer Lyon (thank you again, Jane)

Jennifer Lyon (thank you again, Jane)

I do remember clearly that after cruising the rooms for the last set of signings (St Martin and Grand Central), I rushed upstairs to take a shower, change into my RITA outfit (a simple dress and my lovely Mary Jane’s), and then go downstairs to—you guessed it!—save a spot near the front of the line for the Awards Dinner.

Curse my camera!

Curse my camera!

As usual at conference, some of the best conversations happened while waiting for the doors to the ballroom to open. I chatted with ladies from Sacramento and from Alabama, about everything from books and blogging to Mexican food (and the likelihood of getting the right ingredients for some ethnic foods at your local grocer’s—also known as “learn to substitute” [and this would strike you as much funnier if you knew that I. don’t. cook.]).

Kristie(J) joined me in the line—though I managed to convince her to sit on a nearby bench for part of the wait—and in short order the lovely May showed up. Then the doors opened and we charged, finding a table on the first row after the VIPs (Golden Heart and RITA finalists, presenters, etc.). Rosie, Wendy and AnimeJune (who totally rocked the siren red dress she was wearing—wowza!) joined Kristie, May and me shortly after, along with a couple of other attendees whose names I didn’t get8.

Sharing packages of tissues with Rosie during the acceptance speeches for the Golden Hearts and taking pictures of my fellow bloggers and friends. Sharing my lovely silk pashmina (a gift from my beloved *kiss*) with poor May, who felt cold for most of the evening (and how come I don’t have a picture of May during the RITAs dinner?)

Rosie, Kristie(J) and SLWendy

Rosie, Kristie(J) and SLWendy

Anime June

Anime June

AnimeJune, aztec, Kristie(J) and SLWendy

AnimeJune, aztec, Kristie(J) and SLWendy

After the RITAs, Rosie and aztec in the lobby of the Dolphin

After the RITAs, Rosie and aztec in the lobby of the Dolphin

After all that, it was a very tired aztec who trudged upstairs to crash in Kristie’s and Wendy’s room for the evening—until the truly ungodly hour of four in the morning!

*   *   *   *   *

7 The temptation is great, but I have to be realistic and consider whether or not I can fulfill the implied obligation (read and review as many, if not all, of the books I would be sent) before I decide—though given previous ruminations, one can conclude that I’m leaning far to the “thank you, but no, thank you” end of the spectrum here.
8 One of them spent the entire dinner and most of the award ceremony reading! Look, I’m a reader myself, but isn’t this a tad… rude?
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