Uncensored Thoughts on Romantic Times
I wrote this on Sunday, 5:30 am FL time, which means it was 3:30 in CO:
I’m wide awake. The ocean is pounding outside the hotel. Loved the view, was not impressed with the hotel. Food was lousy. Long lines to get into banquets and luncheons. For a convention hotel, it sucked.
BUT met some wonderful people. This convention is attended by authors, aspiring writers, editors, agents, booksellers, reviewers and most importantly of all, readers. And I mean readers. I was astounded by the knowledge they had about authors in the genre(s) they read as well as authors in general. They KNOW everything. Which books in a series are good, which are not so. Which authors have successfully crossed genre boundaries and which have not. They know characters, plots, the date any particular book was published, the house it was published by. They know personal stuff about their favorite authors and they are fiercely protective and fiercely loyal. It’s astounding and awe inspiring.
There are different tracks at the conference—genre workshops for authors and readers; specialty workshops aimed at aspiring writers; a Novelist Boot Camp for beginning writers; Writer’s Digest Programs; African-American Fiction Market workshops; and a Readers Program. Something for everybody.
People—Sharron Tan from Maryland, Raina Tooney from Canada. Two bright, knowledgeable aspiring writers. Sharron attended the genre workshops, especially paranormal, and knows A LOT about the authors and their books. Raina came to pitch her book to an editor—you could schedule an appointment—and spent her time before the pitch, practicing. It worked. She’ll be sending her stuff to the editor next week.
Old Friends – Charlaine Harris, who needs no introduction to readers of the vampire genre. She was the “captain” of the vampire genre panels and the gracious lady who got me included. Carol Nelson Douglas of Midnight Louis and the Irene Adler fame. We haven’t seen each other for many years and it was fun to catch up. Denise Agnew, who writes the spicy “romantica” that’s so popular.
New Friends—Lori G. Anderson who I heard many, many people say wrote a damn good mystery. Roxanne St.Claire who I had the good fortune to sit next to at the author signing and who shared some of her marketing secrets. Keri Arthur, a fellow ImaJinn author from Australia. We’ve been e-mailing for a couple of years so meeting in person was a treat. J.C. Wilder who has forgotten more about the business than I’ll ever know.
Impressions of fellow panel members—Laurell K. Hamilton—sweeps into a room and takes over. She travels with her husband John and “friend” (read: bodyguard) Charles. She’s aggressive, well spoken, smooth and knows her audience. At the same time, she’s gracious to fans and patient. She must have had three or four hundred people who stood in line hours to get her to sign their books, posters, pictures. She signed them all.
MaryJanice Davidson is funny, warm and kept pretty much to herself. Didn’t see her much at the conference. Kim Harrison strikes me as very shy. Rosemary Laurey and JC Wilder are characters who have been at this awhile and really know how to work a room.
What did I get from RT? I hope some good contacts for the Berkley deal. Charlaine introduced me to RT Magazine creator, Kathryn Falk, and senior reviewer, Jill Smith, who said to be sure she got an ARC. Some vampire authors to whom I’ll suggest my editor send an ARC in the hopes they might blurb.
The big question—would I do it again? I’m not sure yet. I need a week or two to decompress and think about it. But the great thing about a conference like this is the sense that there really is an audience out there waiting for the next good book.