Yes, I know, bad blogger. It's been a week, and I haven't posted part 2 of my RT trip, let alone post pictures. Well, I still haven't gotten the photos developed yet (ugh, sorry), but I promise to post those as soon as I get them.
Couple things first: One, I have a new Hell's Belles contest going on at Cat and Muse -- and it's not my Hell's Belles! For a chance to win one of three fabulous clutch purses or pocketbooks from the amazing Hell's Belles Finishing School for Girls, check out the post titled "Back in School" and leave a comment for a chance to win. The contest is going on now through FATHER'S DAY (June 17), 7:59 pm EDT, so there's plenty of time to leave a comment. Or two. Tell your friends. Go on, leave a comment. All the cool kids are doing it. First one's free.
Second, I'll have a new interview going live on Cat and Muse later today -- the uber-talented Colleen Gleason (author of The Rest Falls Away and Rises the Night) allowed Jezebel to interview Victoria Gardella, intrepid heroine of her wonderful dark paranormal series. Victoria is still blushing. Check Cat and Muse later today; it's a great interview. And if you haven't read The Rest Falls Away yet, you're missing out on an amazing read. And the sequel? Even better. (Yeah, I read the ARC. Being an author has its privileges. I read cool books before they're available. God, I love my job.)
And now...Romantic Times, Part Deux. Otherwise known as Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Friday was a whirlwind. MaryJanice Davidson had invited me to co-host a Cinnamon Buns Mixer with her and Michele Bardsley (it took me all of two seconds to think it through before I squeed out a YES!!!), so I had to meet Jessica Growette -- Mary's fabulous publicist, promotions expert and all-around terrific person -- at something ungodly like 8 am. (I make that sound like a hardship. Meanwhile, I was getting up at 6 am every morning so that I could call home and speak to my Precious Little Tax Deductions before they went to school. Loving Husband, too, but let's face it: I wouldn't have set my alarm to call him. I love him more than anything...but voluntarily losing sleep? Nah, that's reserved for the kids. AND BOYS: Remember, Mommy wants a DELUXE apartment in the retirement community you dump her in when she's old and decrepit. Cabin Boy optional.)
Right, so I met Jessica in the fabled Window Box Room Area Place (or whatever it was called). Of course, everything was already set up by then, because Jessica is touched by God and magicked it all up in record time. Plus a whole bunch of the Yahoos -- Mary's fans, on her Yahoo Group, and a nicer, funnier bunch of people you'll never meet) were there to help. And bwahahahaha, I got to call Richelle at 8:15 am to remind her to come to the event. I GOT TO WAKE UP RICHELLE AND NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT IT! (Actually, she was already awake. But the story sounds better without that part.) ANYWAY. So, Mary and Tony were there and Michele was there, and Jessica made sure we all had about a zillion assorted pens for signing. Our swag was there. Our gift baskets for prizes were there.
Er, gift baskets?
Yeah, I had the two big prize baskets for my portion of the giveaways...but the prizes for second and third places? OOPS. CRAP, I KNEW I'd forgotten something in New York...So there you have it: Jackie Kessler, handing out an IOU A SIGNED COPY OF HELL'S BELLES at the breakfast. DUH. Whoever said that authors are organized obviously never met me. And hey, as luck (skill? bribery?) would have it, the person who won second prize was none other than Ter from the Yahoos -- who ALREADY had HB. So she's like, "What do I get, Kessler?" And I'm like, "My undying gratitude?" Which she happily accepted...along with a promise of an ARC of THE ROAD TO HELL (in July or August, from what I hear). Actually, Ter is now on my auto-ARC list. Yes, there is such a thing. Yes, you, too, can get on my auto-ARC list. A good way to start? Chocolate. Lots of it. (I'm kidding. Sort of.)
When the doors opened at 8:30 (ish), WHOOM, everyone zoomed in to see Mary, Tony and Michele. Me, I got to sip my coffee and grin at the whole thing, thinking, "One day, I'll be a grown up author too! Yay! I like this life!" And I got to meet lovely people from Backspace (Hi, Renee!) and the inimitable Lila Dubois (Hi, Lila!) and many book reviewers (Danny Firedragon from Love Romances & More brought me CHOCOLATE! From Germany! The whole auto-ARC thing? You KNOW Danny's on the list!) and Debi Murray (HAH, see, Debi? I finally got it RIGHT) from Charlaine Harris's Charlatans and wow, many more people. I signed bags and bookmarks, and I talked, and I had a terrific time. And Mary, who's so freaking nice that it makes my head spin, is very tall, and I am very short. She could use my head as an elbow rest. I wouldn't mind. She's MaryJanice Davidson! Use me! Use me!
And then it was over, and I zoomed up to the Urban Fantasy Panel at 10 am. Picture this: a looooong table, with headlining, bestselling authors seated in a row, including Rachel Caine, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher...zillions more. It felt that way, anyway. Agent Miriam Kriss was there too. I ran up, took a picture of the panelists, and told Rachel that I felt like the biggest fan girl ever. Great panel. I asked them, "If, in paranormal romance, you know there's going to be a happily ever after, what do you know is going to happen in urban fantasy?" And the answer was, "Bad things will happen." Heh, yeah, that's about right.
Now it's 11 am, and it's time for Kensington's I Break For Romance signing! I run down to the second floor, see roughly a hundred people swarming in a space that could seat five comfortably. And I see Richelle, with a stack of Succubus Blues novels in her arms, looking shell-shocked, and she says to me, "You want to see the woman in the brown coat." So I find the woman in the brown coat (who must be related to the man in the yellow hat), and she pumps my hand and says she's thrilled to meet me...and dumps a stack of Hell's Belles novels into my arms and tells me to find a seat. I wedge between Richelle and Jacki Frank (author of Jacob and Gideon in The Nightwalkers series), and lo! There were readers, eager to get a free signed copy. Squee! Of course, I was a goober and signed in a blue ballpoint pen. I think I was supposed to sign in black. Oops. Well, I write about demons. I'm supposed to break the natural law and shit like that. I SIGNED IN BLUE, BABY. I'm a rebel! And, um, I was also quietly plugging Succubus Blues! Yeah, that was it!
[I just paused to check my email. And once again, some chick posted a spam comment on my MySpace page. ARGH.]
After the insanity that was the Kensington signing came the little piece of Hell called...Club RT. Picture, if you will, a small room lined with gift baskets and raffle tickets and vendors selling jewelry and scarves and stuff like that and RT staffers and, oh, about a zillion people. It was a choice of having an anxiety attack on the spot or grinning and going with the flow. Tough call, but I grinned. And soon I was sitting with Richelle, Lila, Jacki, Bianca D'Arc, and the Price sisters, Stella and Audra. And we raffled away lovely jewelry in conjunction with our novels. We were the Dragons, Demons and Demigods section. And I think the Club RT staffers feared us. It was fun. The wonderful Elle won a Shield Against Evil. Enjoy, Elle!
Then there was the RT Awards Ceremony. I only saw part of it -- long enough to see Backspacer Jenny Gardiner win the Dorchester American Title contest for her novel, Sleeping With Ward Cleaver -- GO, JENNY!!! Couldn't stay too long because I had a meeting (we authors do things like Meet and Talk and Drink) scheduled at the same time. But all was good -- Jacki Frank won the RT award for best paranormal romance 2006 for Jacob. Congrats, Jacki!
Wow, I haven't even gotten to Friday afternoon yet. Long-assed post. I'll write more later (RT: Part Trois -- this time, it's not about the sex) -- because man, I haven't even gotten to the part where Alexandra Sokoloff sings on stage or the fabled Book Fair. Stay tuned. (And I'll update the links and whatnot later also. Promise!)