Tuesday, May 20, 2014

RT Convention :: New Orleans!

Every year, the leading magazine about romantic fiction holds a conference where thousands of readers convene to celebrate all things romance. At the RT Convention there are parties and book fairs and parties and luncheons and parties and...you get it.

I'd never braved the masses, but I've always wanted to go to New Orleans, so I prepared my introverted self and made the trip. Largely because my publisher promised I could throw beads off a Mardi Gras float. Can you say bucket list?

Plus, it was my birthday weekend, and Randy lives there so if I truly freaked out I'd have someone to laugh at me in the loony bin.

Things did not start as I had planned. I made it to the airport for my buttcrack-of-dawn flight, and they postponed my flight for two hours. Then six. Then...I took a flight that would get me as far as Denver, and hopefully to New Orleans by midnight. I had an eight am meeting the next day, so I was keen to get there. Plus...I had scheduled a ghost tour. Ah, well.

I made it there around two am. Luckily my roommate was waiting at the door and had found a couple of dudes to buy our drinks. Apparently, I've set a precedent with her that the bar is required after airline issues.

The conference started in full swing the next morning. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. There were so many people! Most of the authors had been there before, or were newbies. So I was in this weird place of being established, and not knowing what the heck to do. I learned quickly - give stuff away. Lots of it. These readers want stuff for them, and for their family and friends. Okay. Will do that next time.

Every time I felt overwhelmed or underprepared, I took a walk outside. Our hotel was an easy walk to just about all the bucket list things in Nola. Our first excursion was to the French Market. They have a little bit of everything there, mostly at tourist prices. But I did find a few budget friendly reader bribes - I mean gifts. Whenever I do a print signing, I like to have a few things on hand for readers who come to say hello, but don't buy a book because they already have the ebook. Given the crowds at RT, I knew the dozen treats I'd brought would be gone in no time.

Lynda had vacationed with her family there the week before, so she was able to play tour guide to a cemetery - where if you knock three times on a witch's crypt and make a wish, it comes true. We also saw Nikolas Cage's pyramid tomb. Like all good ghost hunters, we stopped for beignets on the way back.

During the weekend we also went to a voodoo shop, and an occult shop where a friend had her cards read.

On my birthday, I dragged all my girls to have our tea leaves read. Accordingly, I can expect seven years of success and overseas travel in 2015. So there is that.

The conference went well for me, but next time? I'm swagging it out!

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