Friday, July 20, 2007

RWA Blow by Blow (or aching foot by aching foot)

I probably should write up my RWA experiences before I forget them. I had good conference with a few setbacks, but setbacks are inevitable at an event like this. Let me take it day by day.


Get up at the crack of frigging dawn to catch a flight to Dallas. I'm only two hours by plane from Dallas, but if I want to go to Love Field, the plane has to stop once, making it a three hour flight. Plus I lose two hours for time zone change, so five hours after I take off, I land at Love Field. Hotter than Hades outside (100+ and throw in humidity), but I have to wait nearly half an hour for the Super Shuttle. At least we go right to the hotel, which is not far from this airport.

I check into the Hyatt with no problem, get my registration stuff from RWA, and find my room. Turn down the AC! Unpack my clothes, take a shower, fix up my badge, look through bag. There's five books in the bag. I decided that this conference, I wouldn't take home any books. Ha ha ha ha! All five are either books or authors I've been DYING to read. Oh well. Once I get rid of my promo stuff I'll have room. Right?

Dress self and slide downstairs late to the author-bookseller tea. There are actually a few nibblies left and some water. Not many people though. I did get to say a big hi to Marjorie Liu and Pamela Clare, fellow Rita finalists. Also talked to Barbara from the Pub. Weekly blog. She is loving the Immortals, and somehow talked me into sending her an ARC of The Gathering. How'd she do that? She looks so innocent. :-)

On to the literacy booksigning!!

I walk in and am accosted by several Dorchester authors. "Are your books here?" they ask.

Aside: I had opted this year to sit as Allyson James, because when I sit as Jennifer Ashley, I get to face a blank wall (WHY, WHY, WHY?? Why do the A's and early B's always have to face the wall? We get no traffic over there and have to work extra hard to sell anything. Please someone who organizes these events, start the A's in the middle of the room and rotate outward. Give the poor A's and B's a chance. We have to go through this every conference! I'm sure XYZ has much the same problem.) Whew. End rant.

Anyway, I check my Allyson James place. Plenty of Dragon Heat and my latest one in print from EC Double Trouble (yay!). I walk across the ballroom to the placard that says "Jennifer Ashley: Signing as Allyson James). No Jennifer Ashley books.

It turns out that ALL Dorchester books got erroneously placed in the goody room for giveaway the day before. They were devoured. Oh well, the point of the exercise is to get books into the hands of readers. At least I have Allyson James books to sign.

I had a good signing, readers sought me out or decided to give my books a try. Double Trouble sold VERY well. (That book is still selling well as an e-book too--what is it about sexy twins? [OK, I know what it is, heh heh]).

I sat next to Myla Jackson/Ella James. I had no idea she and Delilah Devlin were sisters. Where have I been? It was good to talk to her--had been meaning to for some time.

Elizabeth Hoyt also didn't have books to sign (Warner had the same problem with missing books), but she kindly signed the free copy I'd gotten in my RWA bag. She also put up with my obnoxious teasing (sorry Elizabeth! I love your books, and you've become one of my favorite people). Also got to drool on Emma Holly. She says she doesn't remember drool, but maybe I wiped it away in time. I picked up promo items from her (like a free chapter of her next book!). Yum.

Allysa Day came by and asked if she was pronouncing the Laurien Gardner name correctly. (She was). Turns out she was announcing my category of the Rita on Sat. night. Yay. A friend being there on the stage is a good thing.

Someone pointed out Sherrilyn Kenyon in her goth swan--she was sitting almost directly behind me. I loved it! I momentarily wondered why *Sherrilyn Kenyon* needed to stand out (LOL), but I love the way she interacts with her readers. She takes time for each person, and she really gets into the whole fantasy of the books. She has fun with it, and with the readers. She is my role model for book signings. If I hadn't been so tired, I might have done it standing up too. (Hint: Don't do a big booksigning an hour after you get off a plane).

I'd made a pact with friend Bonnie Vanak to go to the FF&P party with her after the signing. As the signing wound down, I realized I left my checkbook in my room. I asked friend Penny Nickel from the Desert Rose chapter to sit at my place while I ran up, afraid someone would pack up my books while gone. I ran into Bonnie on the way, we went up together and then back down. I bought books (which I then gave away in the goody room--literacy got money, readers got free books). And I need to do something nice for Penny.

Then we go to the FF&P party. Except--by the time we got there, they'd run out of food. The early people at the party ate it all! You know who you are. I'll remember this.

The poor person given the wonderful task of telling people as they came in that all the food was gone refunded our money and Bonnie and I went upstairs to the restaurant. An hour and a half wait later, we finally got seated and had dinner. Bonnie, on Florida time, was already half-asleep. Me on Pacific time still thought it was 8pm so I'm full of energy.

People we talked to as we waited: Pamela Clare, Gennita Low, ladies from Orange County Chapter, ummmm, many others. Drunk guys wanting to talk to romance writers. Dear, dear. (Do they have to make such fools of themselves? Is it a rule?)

My husband calls just as we get served and tells me he saw the Bookscan list. Dragon Heat debuted at number 47. Woo hoo! Way to go Allyson James!

We finished the meal, Bonnie took a cab back to her hotel, and I went upstairs and fell into bed (after hanging the room service menu outside the door). End of Day 1.


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