Sunday, April 22, 2012

Line-Up at the RT Corral

Chris Winters Mr. Romance 2008, Me, and Len Gunn Mr. Romance 2011

Being part of a convention is much more fun than going in as a tourist.  I don’t necessarily mean that you have to be on panels or the staff of every convention you attend—I mean it’s much more fun when you pay full price and attend the whole con.  That way, you can go to all of the workshops, hang out in the con suite until all hours, attend the banquettes (depending on the con and whether they cost extra), and go to all the various parties in the evening.

It is, however, even more fun if you participate behind the scenes so to speak.  I don’t know if this applies to romance conventions, but at science fiction conventions if you put in enough volunteer time, you can get your registration either reimbursed or rolled over for next year.  In fact, most sci-fi cons have a “gopher hole” for people who volunteer to run errands throughout the con.  It’s a large room where you can bring a sleeping bag and crash for the duration and not have to pay for a hotel room.  If you’re on a panel, you can hang out in the green room which usually has better food than the con suite and sometimes you can even hob-nob with the guests of honor.  I had a nice long conversation with two best-selling authors in the green room at one convention, and have since become a fan of their books.

I must preface this paragraph by saying that I think the Romantic Times people did a fantastic job of crowd control.  There’s only one suggestion I could make—they should have given out tickets to see the best-selling authors at the door.  Going in on Saturday as a reader, I felt as though I was at an amusement park going from the line for one ride to another.  For the E-Tickets (Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, Sue Grafton), you had to find a person with a red shirt and get a ticket to wait in line.  Of course, if you could spot the person with the red shirt, you had to wait in line to see them.  The signing room doors opened for convention-goers an hour before they opened to the readers, and when it was time to check out, the authors and conventioneers were, of course, first again.  I’m not used to attending a convention as cattle, but that’s a bit what I felt like.

There were high points.  If any of you are fans of Mary Janice Davidson’s Betsy Taylor vampire series “Undead and…,” Mary Janice was at a regular table with everyone else.  You did not need to get a ticket to stand in line to see her.  She’s a wonderful down-to-earth Minnesotan, and we connected!  I bought the last copy of an “Undead” book from her and got her signature.  I can’t praise her enough—either her writing or her graciousness toward her fans.

Jennifer Brown (J.D. Brown, Danielle Ravencraft) and Charlene A. Wilson
My other high point was meeting people I know from the internet but have not met in person before.  The first two were Charlene A. Wilson, who writes “The Chronicles of Shiloh Manor” series.  I’ve edited both books and they’re really good.  Charlene says I’m prejudiced, but believe me—I don’t praise every book I edit.  The next is Jennifer Brown who writes as J.D. Brown and Danielle Ravencraft, depending on the heat level of the book.  Charlene came up from Little Rock and the three of us car-pooled from my house and shared a hotel room.  We went sight-seeing in the Loop and up the Magnificent Mile, and of course before we left here we checked out the Volo Auto Museum which is practically in my back yard and where my daughter and her fiancé both work.  And while we were downtown, we made sure we walked up to the House of Blues so we could take a photo of Jennifer since her short, hot Danielle Ravencraft series “A Trace of Love,” “A Trace of Passion,” and “A Trace of Hope” takes place there.

With Mary Alice Pritchard aka Marla Munroe
And finally, at the signing, I ran into Mary Alice Pritchard, who was the first author I ever edited.  I was her first editor and she’s another author of whom I was proud.  Talk about laughing and crying at the same time!  It’s been almost ten years since we worked together, but we became friends and it was so good to see her.

My next big convention will be Chicon 7, the World Science Fiction convention that’s being held here in Chicago over Labor Day weekend.  I’m attending the whole thing.  I’ll be on a panel, I’m “wrangling” a speaker (helping him/her find his/her way around the hotel, etc.), and I’m doing clerical work for the Executive Committee.  Don’t know that I’ll have time to schmooze in the con suite or the green room, but I sure won’t be a tourist.  I will, no doubt, have to wait in line for elevators.  At Chicon 6 there were lines for the elevators and hotel security making sure people didn’t cram on and overflow them at night when everyone was going back and forth between the con suite and the parties.  It was, of course, a basic safety precaution.  Anticipated high point?  My former roommate of eighteen months who moved to Colorado will be here!  More hugs and crying!

Charlene A. Wilson

Danielle Ravencraft

J. D. Brown

Mary Alice Pritchard

Ghostly Mistakes Buy Link:


  1. I just wanted to add that I've read the "Trace" series and it's great. Watch for my review on May 20 next door at Rochelle's Reviews.

  2. I loved reading about the RT conference. I've always wanted to go and I'm also a fan of Mary Janice Davidson. I can't wait for the next undead book to come out :)

  3. I have some catching up to do. I love listening to the Undead books, but can't afford to buy audio books right now, and my TBR list is stacked because of Rochelle's Reviews. I have to read several before I can read the one I bought at RT. ;-(

    And speaking of Rochelle's Reviews, you can see my review of J.D. Brown's paranormal book, Dark Heirloom. I reviewed it last week. Yes--that's the same Jennifer Brown with whom I attended the RT!

  4. Oh, Jolie! I meant to say thank you for stopping by!