Warning--long post ahead!!!
So, RT. St. Louis was the third or fourth Romantic Times convention I have been to, so I was no RT virgin, but I hadn't been in several years and never as a bona-fide published author. Wasn't really sure what to expect, just that whatever happened it would be fun. RT is ALWAYS fun, just--unpredictable. Well, I had an absolute blast. It was non-stop movement, talk, laughing, drinking, dancing, selling my damn books, giggling with my roomies (the fabulous Diane Perkins, Sasha Lord, and Debra Holland)--all the time. Except for the moments when I collapsed in a heap in my hotel room, I think I crammed more into those five days than I do in the rest of the year!
What I loved:
1) Costumes! Confession--I was a drama queen in high school. Plays, musicals, drama competitions, whatever, I was there (told you I was a geek). Never got over it. So I love the chance to play grown-up dress-up. I start planning my costumes (and pestering my mother, who is my very own genius seamstress) months in advance. This year it was Helen of Troy (don't laugh!) for the EC Fantasy party, a pink satin dress modeled after the Masquerade gown in the Phantom of the Opera movie (gorgeous, but the bustle just got in the way for dancing!), and a black beaded flapper thing for the Roaring 20s gig.
2) The people! I've never seen more fun, interesting, friendly, crazy people in one place. I tend to be a quiet, introverted girl in real life, but at RT you just can't be. It doesn't work. So I became Miss Social Butterfly, running from one event to the next, parking my butt in the bar in the wee hours, afraid I might miss something.
3) The parties! I love to dance, I love sparkly clothes and high heels, I love margaritas (second only to chocolatinis, which the bartender couldn't make, and Cosmos. Oh, and Guiness--guess it's fourth). Put them all together and it equals fun, fun, fun! Yeah, the music kinda sucked (okay, REALLY sucked), but I was having such a good time I didn't really mind listening to YMCA 30 times. I just don't want to hear it again. Ever.
4) The books! I was a romance fan long before I was a romance author, and just being in the same room with all these people whose writing I adore makes me go all "hyperventilating fan grrrl". I salivate over all the free ARCs and myriads of giveaway goodies. That's why my suitcase weighs 100 pounds when I get home. And why the glow-in-the-dark condom fell out of my purse at lunch with my mother last week. Ooops.
What I don't love so much:
1) The tiny workshop rooms. I had to squeeze my pitiful self into the last few inches of available space several times to hear speakers. I am very easily distracted and must be comfortable to pay attention!! (Or to fall asleep over my notebook because of the 2 hours of sleep thing). Okay, whine over.
2) Rubber conference chicken (but that's true at every conference)
3) Slow songs at any party or any time whatsoever. Admittedly, there were not that many in the grand scheme of things, but what genius thought we needed any at all? This is a romance novel conference--there are 50,000 women and 10 men. Okay, maybe 20. And they are all either: A) cover models, some of whom are kinda cute, but some are suspiciously oily, B) bemused-looking husbands sitting in the corner wondering "Where the hell is my wife, and why did she drag me here?", or C) one editor, and while I am not Highly Professional at the best of times, even I know it would not be a prudent career move to grab HIS ass on the dance floor. Of course, there is no dancing whatsoever at RWA, so I shouldn't be complaining.
I had a terrific time, and I am already planning for next year in Daytona Beach. Think I'd like to be a pirate wench at the Fantasy shindig. Anyone know where I could get a good sword?