Monday, July 12, 2010

RomCon Day 1

What I'm reading: Caught, by Harlan Coben

My original plan to leave Divide at a mid-morning hour to arrive for the first official sessions, which began at 2 PM. Easy-peasy. However, I discovered that there was a weapons demonstration/Q&A scheduled for 10 AM, and since that's something that's helpful to me as an author, I revamped my plans.

I got up early, hit the road by 7:30 and made it down the mountain with only one stretch of construction traffic to deal with. I arrived at the hotel with enough time to check in and go to the weapons demonstration. Only trouble—it was canceled. And, of course, it was too early to check into my room.

Remember what I said about bringing your own badge holder? I'm really glad I did. The badges they handed out were very nice, large plastic ones, with a nice lanyard donated by Samhain. But there was no holder. You just wore the badge around your neck.

I "modified" mine by using the nifty holder I brought from home, which allowed me to keep just about everything I needed all together. (And let's hope next time the organizers use a larger font for the names. Sometimes one had to get a little too up close and personal to read them.

And then there was the official tote bag. It contained some nice goodies, but I swapped out their bag for the one I brought (a bright red one from SleuthFest) that zipped shut. No one would pick it up by mistake.

While waiting for the first session, I found someone (or she found me) who recognized my name as a Wild Rose Press author, and we chatted. I also hooked up with author Anna Campbell who's in the states from Australia. She'd helped me with Aussie slang for one of my manuscripts, so we chatted a bit as well. Wandering about the lobby, I found a few other folks I knew either 'for real' or by name, so there was some nice mingling to pass the time.

I did get into my room in time unpack and change for the next session I wanted to attend which was CSI – Fact vs. Fiction. Presented by a forensics science specialist with credentials up the wazoo, he emphasized the fact that what we see on television is fiction, and viewers are "expected" to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story. Given the wealth of information, I'm going to save the details for another post and just do an overview today.

Other events of the day: a fascinating session on historical attire. A number of authors showed up in period costume, and demonstrated (using manikins) all the layers of clothing worn by women over the centuries. All I can say is, I'm glad I didn't have to deal with hoop skirts and corsets.

Later, I went to an "Intimate Chat" with author Cindy Gerard. This was a very small group, and the discussion turned to how the business works, which was both enlightening and depressing.

Susan Mallery hosted a book launch reception—free hors' d'oeuvres and champagne. (Remember what I said about conferences on a budget? These are the 'must attend' sorts of events!) Lots of informal chatting (and handing out a few more bookmarks). I found the forensics guy (Tom Adair) and he was kind enough to let me pick his brain about some forensics details, and I returned the favor by telling him about what I've learned about writing, since he's writing his first novel.

Last event for me was the blogger reception. Everyone got a bag of swag. Authors and bloggers mingled, and I actually won a door prize.

Although there was a costume ball running into the wee hours, I opted out and went to bed. I'm not one for late nights and loud music. And although there were some issues with the free WiFi offered by the hotel (my room happened to be served by the one hub they couldn't get to work, they did have a nifty gizmo that kept the drapes from gapping open and letting in the sunlight at five in the morning.

Tomorrow, my guest is cozy author Elizabeth Spann Craig. She's got some good suggestions for dealing with an absent muse.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm with you on the late nights--I turned in early just about every night at Malice Domestic...conferences are exhausting!

I like your nametag holder. :)

Mason Canyon said...

A very neat nametag holder and a cute gift. Sounds like the conference was very informative.

Thoughts in Progress

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth - I figure my sleep (and reading time!) are more important than staying up late, especially if it's an event with loud music, and you can't talk anyway.

Mason - it was very interesting, and a lot of information was exchanged. Being focused on readers, it was a different approach--patterned more after RT.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm the same about late nights.

Sounds like a good day - even though it's frustrating the 1st class was cancelled. Good tips!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I look forward to hearing about the convention.
Please keep us informed!

Terry Odell said...

Jemi - thanks. Happy, as always, to share.

Jacqueline - that's the plan. I'll have more Wednesday.

Carol Kilgore said...

I love when you blog about events you attend. I always learn a lot. Thanks for sharing.

Terry Odell said...

Carol - and I love blogging about them (because I don't have to come up with a new topic!)

Maryann Miller said...

Love those nametag holders. I got one at Mayhem in the Midlands years ago and still use it. Like you, I like to have some of my business cards tucked in behind the name tag, as well as other items.

Terry Odell said...

Maryann - and the bonus of that badge holder: I found money that I'd left there after the Pike's Peak conference!

Terry Stonecrop said...

I love your conference posts. Always new things to learn.

I might have gone to the party, but a costume ball. That may have required hoop skirts and corsets and other uncomfortable things. Night night for me too.

Terry Odell said...

TerryS, some of the historical authors actually have costumes like that (they used them in the fashion session). I'm basically lazy and didn't want to deal with packing all the necessary "costume" stuff. I suppose I could have found a mask for the black and white ball, but frankly, loud music and dancing with a bunch of women doesn't appeal to me.

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds like you were having fun. I'd rather see costumes than wear them.