Bear with my pictureless RT reports. My brain, it hurts.
I'm still recovering from driving all the way home from Ohio. 1000 miles. 500 of which seemed to be in a perpetual rainstorm. Right now, all I really want to do is sit down and stare at the bottom of my coffee cup, but bills, blog, and work are demanding me to come alive again.
I know many of you just load up the pics and that's it, but I've deliberately set my camera on photo-sized quality because I'm old-fashioned enough to think I'd actually print these out one day--you know, on Real Kodak paper. Ridiculous, I know. Noone does that any more. But anyway, I did, and so that means I have to resize every pic I post and loading them one by one takes enough time to make my lazy butt squirm in protest.
I love updating my blog, but loading pics is apparently too tough for the brain right now.
So, today I want to talk about last Saturday, the Giant Booksigning Event. It's a marvelous event. Here is a pic I borrowed from the Ninja Photographer aka Morgan Doremus, the Romantic Times Book Reviews Web Editor. See the crowd?
I love the Booksigning the most because this captures readers' love of my genre, romance. Their passion is talked about by other genres' writers in their blogs all the time:
***Readers walking around with bags on rollers to BUY books
***Fans holding a list and bringing their husbands along to carry their buys
***Booksellers dropping by to say hi to their favorite authors
***Happy reunions of readers who are on the authors' newsletters or forums
***The instant recognition of covers and titles of books and lines forming around a popular author
(Edited to add. I forgot to mention the number standing in line for J. R. Ward and Rachelle Mead! Readers were given a # and they were called to the author in blocks of ten so they could browse other authors' tables instead of waiting for 3 hours. Great system, by the way. Anyway, at one point, the announcer was calling out for #901-910, and I was like, Hholey Brothahhood Bathman! Mead's were in the 400s or so. Kathy Love, my signing partner, and I just shook our heads in awe)
Check out Alexandra Sokoloff's blog about her RT experience. She is one of many non-romance authors who has been spreading the best-kept secret about romance readers to her fellow authors. Others who are now regular attendees are F. Paul Wilson, Barry Eisler, Joe Konrath, Robert Gregory Browne and this year's virgin, Brett Battles. They love all the attention and plan to come back.
I love my readers so much. They dropprf by to visit me even when I hadn't any new books to sell. Some of them sent friends to come by, to make sure I was doing okay, and even got their friends to buy one of my books (thank you, Wendy Keel, Leiha Mann, and Leslie A. for thinking about me). Some of them drove hundreds of miles to come to SEE ME (thank you, Mo from DC, Jane from Indiana). Some of them came to find out when Virtually Hers was coming out in print. I was happy to have an answer for them: August! I was also very happy to get readers who attended my workshops/chats who were entertained by me enough to want to try my books ;-). Thank you to them too, and I hope they enjoy my stories.
Readers make the convention, and indeed, romance readers are the best readers in the world, buying and reading across all the genres. It's such a pleasure to meet them at RT and I want to thank every one who took time to attend part or all of the convention.
A convention is also nothing without its attendees poking a little--and having a good time doing it--fun at themselves and their favorite genre. The SF people do it with their Trekkies and Star War maniacs. Thrillerfest authors and readers have their parties too. For RT, it's the Romance Model Competition, you know, the one that launched John de
SalvoSalivate onto every cover of every book for a whole decade. And let's not forget the beautiful and sultry Rob Ashton; I still have many pictures of that man.
So, in the spirit of fun, many attend. And even though many make fun of the idea of a "mangeant," (as twitterers were calling it), the contestants every year are serious about the idea of launching a career through a win, or at least, through exposure to the book industry people. Every one of them has hopes of landing on TV, like that reality show with Fabio, who invited Mr. Romance 2001 Tony Ranaldo (one of my fave winners). Some do hold the mistaken belief that authors have power over their covers and many a time, I have had to hold back my amusement at the model's earnestness in trying to persuade me and my fellow authors to give them a chance. Hey, we're all noobs at one time or another--tell me one freshman writer who didn't think talking to an author would help her work get read faster.
Anyway, this is the male models' "break," and many of the readers have a good time having the role reversed. We are so used to having female strippers at male-dominated conventions and male-themed events. RT is a female-dominated convention, and a romance clinch cover--that thing many profess to hate--is an important part of the industry. I know some are cringe-worthy, but I have seen and loved many good sexy ones.
I thought this year's mangeant was a lot less hysterical than previous years. Heck, the contestants hugged and teared up about being a daddy and being so loved by their supporters. In previous years, some of them had really beefed up and acted out a role, taking their time to even pose like a cover. I even recall some form of elaborate dance/pose routine that had the contestants moving around a work zone stage set, dressed up as construction workers (Chris Winters won that year). This year was more relaxed, with each man escorting a Dorchester (sponsor) author to a table, as if on a date, and answering a question or two.
One particular "date" scene gave me a good chuckle. Previously, Mark Johnson (Mr. Romance 1996, popular RT emcee and volunteer) had played a joke by pretending to be an author (he had a hood on) and asking a suggestive question, "What would happen if you and I were trapped on the 7th floor of an elevator?" over and over, trying to embarrass the poor model. Anyway, he was properly scolded and the real author showed up, and her question (all from memory, so not quoted directly) was, "I'm old enough to be your older, ahem, sister, and my question is, how would you seduce an older woman?" The poor contestant squirmed in his seat for a few moments (the author was actually more around his mom's age), and as the audience giggled, he finally said, "I'd start in the elevator." At which the whole crowd roared and even Mark Johnson had to stroll back to the table to highfive the dude. If I could have voted, I'd have given the model mine right there and then. I do like a quick-thinking man ;-).
The winner was Jamie Ungaro. He's a shy young man who had worked hard all week to garner the readers votes. I'm sure he's going to enjoy his winnings--$1200 cash, a paid-for trip to NYC for a cover shoot for Dorchester, and starring in a movie trailer for the same book. While he was taking his walk down the stage, being photographed and showered with shouts of congrats and approval, I overheard him saying while shaking his head, "This is ridiculous!" Which it was. But it was all good funning. Most of us had a good time enjoying the show because yeah, it was ridiculously entertaining. And yeah, like it or not, a few of these young men will grow up to be on many of our romance covers. And no, I'm not ashame to admit that I know more about the careers of Mr. Romance winners than I should; some of them have become my good buddies through the years.
Besides the fun of meeting readers and watching Mr. Romance 2010, I also attend for the networking opportunities. I've saved the best news for last, and I hope it will have a happy ending. An editor who attended my workshops came over to talk to me and asked whether I'd be interested in submitting a manuscript to her.
Hell. Yeah. :D
So, I'm going to take time this next week to polish up T and Diamond's story really, really well. Maybe they'll finally get an editor who will love them as much as you and I do. Wish me luck?
More later. Hope you're enjoying the non-pic reports.
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