Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Romancing the Convention

From your intrepid reporter, Kate Pearce

If you don't know who this guy is, you obviously aren't a Romantic Times aficionado. It's FABIO, the most famous romance cover model ever with the divine Michelle Buonfiglio from Lifetime TV's romance blog. Strangely enough, five minutes before the book fair at the convention ended on Saturday, the whole ballroom went black. I suspect Fabio had just arrived and that all power and female hormones had been sucked out of the room by his ego.

Vampire doms get up close and personal

What can I say about a conference that includes cover models, readers, booksellers, reviewers and authors all crammed into one Pittsburgh hotel which was supposed to be renovated and yet resembled a bomb site?

For those of you who don't know much about it, the Romantic Times Book Lovers convention celebrated its 25th anniversary this year with style and the usual amount of drama. Professional it isn't, fun it definitely is. As your intrepid reporter, I forced myself to get up close and personal with a few fine sets of abs and pecs but unfortunately I don't have any pictures(that I'm prepared to show you). I'll leave others to shine instead :)

Well there is this one-I did cleavage this year, my friend Mari did shiny...

Just in case you want to go, there are workshops aimed at readers, aspiring writers and booksellers. Of course if you go to a workshop hoping for anything too in depth you're likely to be disappointed as the questions tend to be quite general. One woman in a workshop I went to about the emergence of erotic romance lines asked the Harlequin Spice editor if she could name all the Harlequin lines and their heat levels for her...that took up quite a while...

The other big draws are the publishers book giveaways and the goody room where you get free books!! What's not to like? You also get free books at most of the luncheons and dinners so bring an extra suitcase or two. I actually restrained myself due to packing issues and I still came back with 15 new books distributed amongst my belongings!

Fabulous author Samantha Kane lets it all hang out with an EC cover model.

If you like dressing up-this convention is definitely for you. Every evening a big party is hosted by either a publisher or authors. Ellora's Cave hosted their "Golden Age of Hollywood" party the first night. All their authors (such as me) get to be escorted across the stage by an EC Caveman. To be honest, I was so busy clinging onto that nice muscled arm and focusing on not falling flat on my face that the glory of the occasion kind of passed me by and I can't even remember which caveman was my escort.

Two of the contest winners at the Faerie Ball

The Faerie ball is another big night, complete with a faerie court and a costume contest. Somehow that night, I suspect copious amounts of alcohol made me forget stuff, I managed to lose my wings and my little black cardigan, and they didn't turn up the next day either. Not as soul-destroying as the RWA year I lost my Issey Miyake spiky cardigan (wail) but I digress...

Luckily for you all, I have good friends who wore great costumes to the vampire ball. Floggers, leather, gun-shot wounds and vampire teeth were much in evidence. I did hear there was some serious spanking in the bar later, but I missed that-I always do...

Here is our old friend Barry Eisler being hit on by some dom vampires and a zombie ho. He looks a little scared don't ya think?

Some people go to grope the cover models and for the classic MR ROMANCE contest on Saturday night. Some of the guys seem to like being groped and grope back. Some of them probably hate it. I heard plenty of stories about both types of behavior and it seemed about even. For the record, I was groped but didn't grope anyone-I have a 19 yr old son and most of the guys looked a leetle too young for my taste! There were of course, scandals that broke out and are running through blog world as I speak, so I'm not going to spread them here...I'm far too knackered.

I met a reader who had come all the way from Australia to buy romance novels, including mine, I met people who wanted me to sign my books and knew all about me and my characters. I also met a reader who cried when she realized who I was, (in a good way, honestly) which was a bit scary for me being a traditional emotional Brit. And I had a laugh and a few (ahem) drinks with some of the only people in the world who really understand me-other writers. It's nice to crawl out of your office and actually meet the people who read your books. I'd thoroughly recommend it!!


Janine Ashbless said...

Oh Kate - it sounds like so much fun! Drssing up, semi-naked male models and spanking! If only Virgin would subsidise us to go on marketing junkets so I could afford to go to the States ...

Portia Da Costa said...

Sounds like a blast!

Do people go to RT and *not* dress up? Is it okay to go to events dressed in your ordinary clothes?

I only ask because I do fancy going to RT one of these days, but I simply no longer have the time or energy to get involved in costuming. I used to dress up as all sorts of things/people at Star Trek cons, but that was before I started writing.

Janine Ashbless said...

I wanna wear my pirate costume again...

Madelynne Ellis said...

Looks like lots of fun was had. I love dressing up, and meeting other writers. Maybe someday I'll get to RT, but I think RWA is draining enough resources for the mo.

Madeline Moore said...

OMG Kate that sounds like fun. I think, I think I'd love this event.
Maybe Random House will send authors?
Although I would not be high on their list, having only two books with BL.

Great reportage Kate, but that's no surprise, your writing is superb.

I'm itching to ask if these 'free books' include BL authors because I'm amazed at how many LB writers have read so many novels by other LB writers...$$ wise.

I'm dying to read about 15 erotica novels in a row, historical, contemporary, paranormal, and whatever category 'The Ten Visions' falls into. Of course I want to read books in order so I have to get the first before I can read the second (like 'Phantasmagoria') and the list keeps growing...but I believe I have read something by everyone now. God bless those BL anthos...

I'm so glad you survived the fun to return to Lust Bites and post, allowing all of us to play along, at least for a little bit. Thank You Kate!

ps - I once saw a documentary on Fabio and he said, 'I am not a cover model. I am a persona.

Kate Pearce said...

Yes, you can go to RT and not dress up-I did - my 'costumes' were mostly about cleavage which I find acts as a good distraction :)
I did channel Elizabeth Taylor for the Hollywood party, but my wings and long black dresses for the other parties were a bit lame, I didn't realize quite how seriously a lot of people took it. But I do love to dress up and this is the time to do it :)

Kate Pearce said...

Pirates are very welcome, Janine! There was even a mock sword fight at one of the parties between 2 guys :)

Apparently there was supposed to be a workshop by Black Lace but when I popped my head in, there didn't seem to be anyone there from BL towers, so not sure what happened there :)

Kate Pearce said...

It is fun, but it is also really tiring. I realized I needed to pace myself better because at party #2 I was knackered after staying up until 1:30 a;m at party #1

Madeline, no BL books were given away this time-I 'know' BL gave some away at the last 2 RWA conferences but I'm not sure that will happen this year either-sigh

Fabio is a persona? What exactly does that mean???

Kate Pearce said...

BTW-nest year RT is in Orlando at a beautiful hotel/resort, not a half-built Hilton.

Bev(QB) said...

Kate, sounds like you had a great time. You were actually about an hour and a half away from me but I didn't go this year, and honestly because of the Hilton horror stories, I'm glad I didn't!

But next year... Orlando... I am sooo there!

I'll back you up about the dress code. I was at RT Con in Daytona in 2006. Many people dressed up in costume, but just as many didn't. However I would suggest that "dressier" clothes would be appropriate if you are not in costume, Portia. Business casual dress for daytime, dressier for the Vampire Ball and Faery Ball, anything goes for the EC party (the sluttier the better), and usually really casual for the Dorchester party (Saturday night)and whatever get-together they have on Sunday night.

And you will find that there are distinct types of people-- the partiers who like to whoop it up, the observers who like to sit back and watch the partiers, and the group that prefers to leave the ballroom and chat in small groups.

So my point (yes, I DO have one) is that you can be as involved as you want without pressure.

Oh, and those "cover models behaving badly stories"? Not the norm... unless it's mutual.

Madeline Moore said...

Um, I'm not sure what Fabio meant but I thought it was funny. Perhaps he aspires, or aspired, to more than cover modeling?

I have to agree on the renovations thing - it really pisses me off when the hotel doesn't let me know the place is under reno. Who, honestly, goes to stay in a hotel where the jackhammers kick into gear at 8 am (which is what was going on in my case.)

I'm even po'd when, say, the whirlpool is being cleaned.

I guess I may have already mentioned the time the hotel told me 'There's a hockey team staying here right now, we hope that's not a problem for you.'

I was newly single. 'No problem at all,'says I. (Privately thinking 'hubba hubba hockey players...)

When I arrived at the pool/whirlpool area I discovered it was a junior league hockey team and the pool and w/pool were lousy with fourteen year old boys.


Kate Pearce said...

14 yr old hockey players?? eew gross and stinky!

Kate Pearce said...

Bev, you got it exactly right-there are definitely distinctive groups and dress codes :)
I suspect my friends class as rowdy, but I see myself as the calm center of a whirling storm-works for me!

Deanna Ashford said...

So glad you had an amazing time. Semi naked men and naughty stuff - can't think of anything better.

Goodness where is my money box- I think I'd better start saving up to go next year!!!