Monday, April 21, 2008

The RT Booksigning

My oldest daughter(who is a history major at Ohio University) and I left at 8am Saturday morning for Pittsburgh. I wanted to go to the Romantic Times booksigning and she wanted to haunt a couple of museums. Lindsay dropped me off at the hotel and then proceeded to the Carnegie Museum. The air quality in the hotel was atrocious. I started coughing within 30 minutes of being inside the ballroom where the signing was held, and coughed the rest of the day. Most authors were drinking water like crazy and several were very hoarse. The problem w/drinking a lot of water at the signing? No open restrooms on the ballroom floor.
This was the largest booksigning I've ever been to and I have to admit that the sheer size of it was something to behold. There were more authors that I had never heard of than those I had. I did see several familiar faces though, and visited with the "local" authors that I see regularly and consider friends - Lori Foster, Janice Maynard (who had been sick all week), LuAnn McLane, Rosemary Laurey, JC Wilder, Shiloh Walker. There were a handful of authors that I wanted to meet because I'm pretty certain that I'll never have the opportunity again - Sasha White (who I adore and couldn't wait to meet), HelenKay Dimon (another who I was very anxious to meet), Karen Kelley (who is an absolute riot), and Megan Hart. I've followed Megan since very early in her ebook career(she even gave one of her characters my last name)and have enjoyed seeing her popularity explode. It was great to finally meet her in person.
A small number of you might be thinking that the cover models would be reason enough to go to RT. My only thought on that would be not to bother. While I think some of the Mr. Romance competitors might have been a little more humble, the EC cover models bordered on ridiculous. Yes, they had beautifully sculpted bodies, but prancing around like they were God's gift? - it was laughable. One I heard speaking behind me in the ballroom and then again in the hallway twice - it seemed as if every five words he said "mother fucker". So not impressed. Several authors (who shall at their request remain nameless) told me of occurrences from events over the course of the convention, and it sounds like EC should be ashamed of themselves. At an EC salute to the troops, cover models stripped, imitated sex acts with women on stage, whose clothing was also miraculously falling off. How the hell does this pay homage to our troops? I am a huge supporter of our troops and I think it sounded insulting. Another veteran author (who is in no way a prude) told me that she had seen things over the course of the convention that she had never seen before and never dreamed she would see in public, adding that it made her ashamed to be a woman. Women manhandling cover models however and wherever they pleased. While my participation was very limited, the overall feel of the event was a little cheap and tawdry.
The authors were gracious and kind though, and most were incredibly dignified and above this sort of behavior. I know there are other panels and workshops that are of legitimate benefit to authors and wanna-be authors, but you know what? Few people remember the good things they see someone doing, they mostly remember the bad. Ok, now I sound like my mother. I have a feeling that most of the authors probably avoid many of the events in favor of others that are more respectable, and many seem to socialize amongst themselves and while they may drink too much and talk and laugh too loudly, they're not being offensive.
I know I probably sound like a real goody two shoes and truly, I'm not. I also don't mean to pick on EC, I've loved EC authors and their work for several years.
Have you ever been to one of the large romance conventions? I feel certain that the RWA event is much more dignified and respectable.
All in all, I had a great time and was thrilled to see some old friends and meet some new ones. I'm so pleased that I was able to go and the best part of all was spending time with Lindsay. After she picked me up after the signing, we drove around Pittsburgh and she showed me some of the sights (she's been there several times) and pointed out some interesting architecture. A stop for dinner on the way home rounded out a fun day together.


AuthorM said...

It was sooooo great meeting you!!!


--it won't let me post the pic but you can find it at the link...

Oh, and I did my share of hugging, dancing with and squeezing but I'm pretty sure I didn't grab anybody's package OR A$$...

HelenKay said...

It was fabulous to meet you in person!! I love that part of RT.

Lori Foster said...

Amen sister! I tell ya, I was embarrassed several times by things that went on. I love RT the magazine and staff, but the convention is no longer about romance - which is what I write.
I've never, ever attended the parties, and never will, but sadly, you don't have to to know what went on. :-(


Carol said...

I've never gone to RT. I had no idea it was like what you just described! That's very disappointing to hear.

Karin Tabke said...

I didn't go this year and from what I'm hearing regarding the condition of the hotel, I'm glad I didn't. I think next year is in Orlando?

flchen1 said...

Laurie, thanks so much for taking the time to let us live vicariously through your descriptions! I'm thrilled you got to meet and chat with some many authors and catch up with old author friends!

And wow, I'm disappointed to hear about some of the less-than-stellar behavior by some of the models and guests--that's really too bad!

So glad you and your daughter enjoyed some time together!!

Sasha White said...

It was amazing to meet you in person Laurie! I'm so glad you came.

As fro the parties and EC models. I guess maybe I'm immune to most of the antics from years of working in bars because while there was a lot of what I would consider unprofessional behavior, and even some embarassing things, none of it was shocking to me.

Then again, I was mostly concentrating on having a good time of my own. And I know I never groped any cover models in any way. A few of them were wonderfully charming and flirtasious in a fun way, but some of them were clearly 'on the prowl', and didn't interest me at all.

Laurie D. said...

I'm afraid I've come off as if I have a huge stick up my ass - I truly am not a prude. I guess as I get older, I have less patience for women behaving in ways that make them look ridiculous, especially where younger men (who are probably the same are as their own children) are concerned. I suppose if I were to hang out in an atmosphere that was less inhibited, I might not have been so shocked by what I was hearing. Geez, maybe I am just stuffy.
I absolutely loved meeting those authors who have seemed like friends for so long, and seeing the ones that I see throughout the year anyway is always fun.
Carol and Fedora, please don't let anything I've said sway you from attending RT if you've always wanted to go - I have no doubt that there is a lot of fun to be had. It's not like there's an orgy going on everywhere you look. I think my comments may have come off a little too strong.

Laurie D. said...

Megan, thanks for the photo! I look like I've been up for far too long - but I'm so glad to have it!

Robin said...

I've never been to RT and really enjoyed this post, Laurie! I don't think you sounded like you've got a stick anywhere. :) You painted me a great picture and I'm glad you had a good time!

Sasha White said...

Laurie, no one thinks you've got a stick up anywhere. What you said is true. I personally think it's embarassing for some of the women to behave the way they did, but at the same time, I have a very strong "whatever" aspect to my personality. LOL I concentrate on having a good time and try not to pay attention to things that I have no control over and don't really effect me, personally. It comes from years of working where people drink to much alcohol. LOL

shilohwalker said...

Awww... Laurie, you don't have a stick up anywhere. Hell, you put up with *me* so it would be almost impossible to have said sticks, I'd think.

Man, the hotel air, you are not kidding!

The parties and such aren't going to work for everybody. Some people had a ball. Others? Not so much. I'm not much of a party person myself and left fairly early on in the events. Mostly, I wanted to talk and talking wasn't to be had in the parties.

They worked for some.

They didn't work for others.

I hope nobody's made you feel bad for not appreciating certain aspects.

For my part, it was fantastic seeing you!