Thursday, April 30, 2009

RT Recap 3

What I'm reading: Tears of the Moon, by Nora Roberts

First: Yesterday I mentioned hearing Michael Connelly speak at the Adult Literacy League Fundraiser. A local bookstore, Urban Think! recorded his talk and has shared it here.

Friday. Another free food breakfast mixer. I'd decided to play that one by ear, but since I was awake, I wandered down, got in line, and was even early enough for a bag of goodies from The Shadowdwellers. I had my stint in the "Club RT" room after breakfast, where authors get a table to sit at and hand out promo items and chat with anyone who comes by. Most of the traffic is people entering drawings for all the big raffle baskets donated by attendees. I think I chatted more with the cover models than readers, but heck – that wasn't exactly a hardship.

The next session I attended was, "Kill Me!" with Debra Webb, who I 'knew' from her Murder She Writes blog; CJ Lyons, Karen Rose, Andrew Peterson & Tom Lowe. Very interesting discussion when someone asked the men how they dealt with 'romance.' We segued off into 'romance' vs 'sex scenes'.
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Not surprisingly, when someone asked the male panelists (who wrote thrillers) how they worked romance into their stories, since this was a 'romance' convention, both spoke that they included sex scenes. How XY of them. One thing I enjoyed about the panels I attended was the opening the discussion to input from the audience rather than sticking to a formal Q&A pattern.

After that, I'd planned to hide in my room for a bit and grab some of my food stash (lesson learned long ago; I always travel with some kind of sustenance), but I bumped into Nancy Cohen who said Harlequin was hosting a "potato martini" luncheon in celebration of its 60th anniversary. Free food. I joined the line. She'd been expecting a sit-down lunch based on the menu description, but in reality it was a bunch of food stations. Having done many conference meal events from the other side, I would definitely have done this one differently, but eventually we got to one of the buffet setups. Too late for the book giveaway, though.

The deal: you get a martini glass. There is a huge vat of mashed potatoes. Scoop the desired amount into your glass. Then there were 3 'toppings' – bbq chicken, some sort of beef (I don't know what 'flavor': I don't eat dead cows), and a faux Creole shrimp dish. Also, for purists, the basic bacon, chives, cheese toppers.

Note: next time, go very light on the potatoes and fill the glass with mostly the bbq chicken, which was very good. After lunch, they drew 10 names for special commemorative tote bags (and I won one!),

and then two or three people won Sony readers. After the event, I got together with Sandra McDonald, my first writing mentor, who had driven down from Jacksonville just to scope things out and attend the Saturday book fair. We had a nice visit. Hubby joined us at the hotel for dinner—the Vampire Ball included a full meal, but that wasn't going to be until nine, and I needed something more, given that lunch had been a martini glass of mashed potatoes with a little bbq chicken – oh, and a special commemorative cookie (or two).

I changed for the ball and went back to --- yep, stand in line. But the company was interesting.

I'm not a costume person. I thought I might be out of place, but from the looks of things, I'd say about 30% of the folks showed up in "costumes". Most of the rest just wore some variation on black. We were treated to a theatrical production of a murder. The audience was supposed to figure out who did it and why. Well, the sets and costumes were great, but the skit seemed typically corny for this kind of an event. Until the music started and Heather Graham belted out "House of the Rising Sun" which brought the house down. Shades of Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent. And do you think it's fair that Heather can write AND sing?

Music and dancing commenced after the show. I lasted about another half-hour. I didn't recognize the music, being totally out of touch, and the noise made conversation impossible. As usual, I'm happy curling up with a book.

Saturday was yet another breakfast event. This time I did get another bag o' books and Barry Eisler was signing a copy of Fault Line for everyone as they entered. Note to self: learn how to do a scribbly signature instead of having to be careful with all those loops in the cursive version of Odell – go ahead: write it yourself. It's nothing but tall, short, fat and skinny loops.

After the breakfast, it was time to set up for the book signing. All three of my allotted books were there. Once again, I sat beside Jana Oliver and her stuffed ferret. The person on the other side of me was a no-show, so I kind of encroached on her allotted space and spread out a bit more. I've learned that sitting and waiting for people when you're a relative unknown doesn't do anything for meeting people or making sales, so I tried to talk to passersby. A lot of them did stop when I said my books were mystery-romance, because that's a genre they enjoy. I had chapter books, postcards, magnets and chocolate—more when I started than when it was time to pack up. I met readers and booksellers and figure making contact was well worth the time spent in that huge, crowded, noisy room.

When the signing was over, I packed up and decided I was too drained to hang around long enough for the Cover Model competition. Maybe if I'd been 20 years younger, I'd have had the strength and the inclination – but these guys were almost all younger than my kids. Not that they were hard to look at, mind you, but definitely not the kind of guys I'd fantasize over.

So … that's my first RT. If you want more details, leave a question in the comments.

This was a long post, but I wanted to get the blow-by-blow done to give Homicide - Hussey center stage tomorrow. I'll try to get the PMS (Phony Male Syndrome) notes up on Monday.


Jamie Hill said...

Another excellent recap, Terry. The mashed potato martini thing sounds different. Unique is good, I guess.
Glad you had a fun trip.


Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Jamie. Actually, this wasn't my first encounter with the potato martini -- we had them at an Adult Literacy League dinner a couple of months ago. The event was multiple buffet stations, each with different food items, and from across the room, it looked like a 'build your own sundae' station. I'll admit I was disappointed to find it was potatoes, not ice cream that night.

Jess said...

ice cream trumps potatoes every time!

Terry Odell said...

Well, duh. No brainer there. Sorry, no points!

Neil Plakcy said...

Great material, Terry. I'm jealous about all the books you got-- I came home with eight or ten and most of them aren't to my taste at all-- too many vampires and werewolves and outer space creatures. I like a good old fashioned romance!

Terry Odell said...

I got a surfeit of paranormal as well. Maybe it's another power telling me to give them another try.

Mary Ricksen said...

That's one of the best recaps I have read, I was almost there with you!!
Potato martini, no real ones??

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Mary -- feel free to send others this way. The only 'martini' was the glass.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Enjoyed your recap. After that martini snack, I headed into the restaurant with Allison Chase who'd missed her opportunity to get a taste and craved lunch. So I ate more, and that (plus the pack of peanuts in my purse) held me until the late dinner. And like Neil, I wasn't aware people were giving away books at the breakfast mixers. Next time, I'll check them out.