This past weekend's RT convention was fabulous, though it will probably take me several more days to recover from the late nights and jet-lag. All worth it, though.
The Westin Bonaventure is a huge hotel, perfect for a convention like this. It never felt crowded, yet I never had to walk far for anything. There was always a seat at the bar, always an elevator when I needed one, always a table at any of the restaurants.
(At left, me, Lynsay Sands, Merrie Destefano at Avon's Dusk to Dark Mixer)
I flew to LA from DC on Wednesday morning and arrived at the hotel early afternoon, a couple of hours before the panel I was scheduled to present with Kerrelyn Sparks and L.A. Banks on the Care and Feeding of a Paranormal Series. With all three of us flying in that morning, I kept my fingers crossed for on-time flights. Everything went off without a hitch. That evening, Kerrelyn and I had dinner together at a great little pub in the hotel and celebrated Vampire Mine hitting the New York Times Bestseller list.
Thursday I was on a second panel with Angela Knight, Shannon K. Butcher, and Rebecca York titled The Plot Thickens: Plotting the Paranormal. Afterward I met fellow Supernatural Undergrounders Nicole Murphy, Jaime Rush, and Colleen Gleason for lunch in the Lake View Bistro in the large lobby/bar area of the hotel. I never did figure out where it came by its name. Lake View? The closest thing I saw to water were a couple of dry fountains in the lobby nearby.
Friday morning I had the rare pleasure of attending a talk by thriller icon Dean Koontz as he shared some of his own entertaining experiences in publishing, then signed books. Sophie Jordan, Tera Lynn Childs, and I grabbed lunch at the Border Grill, a fabulous Mexican restaurant across the street from the hotel. Then it was time to start getting ready for Avon's Dusk to Dark Mixer. Avon publicity guru Pamela Spengler-Jaffee put together the event of the convention, in my opinion. The food was outrageously fun--caramel apples, corn dogs, Cracker Jacks, along with more standard mixer fare, lemonade in carafes, and margaritas passed around by waiters with trays. Around the edges of the small ballroom sat beautifully decorated tables strewn with flower petals, adorned with floating candles and twin bottles of wine (Vampire wine from the Vampire Vineyards and Werewolf wine, a product of Romania, both of which are now sitting on the sideboard in my dining room). Hanging from the front of each table was a huge poster-sized cover of a book and behind each table sat the author, ready to sign two hundred free copies for book-hungry fans. Signing, in order of the picture above, were Tera Lynn Childs, Jaime Rush, Kerrelyn Sparks, me, Lynsay Sands, Merrie Destefano, Kimberly Derting, Syrie James, Kelley Armstrong, Sophie Jordan, Melissa Marr, and Joss Ware/Colleen Gleason (not pictured). SO much fun.
That evening, Avon hosted a lovely dinner for all the Avon, Voyager, and Harper Teen authors attending RT. Roy's Los Angeles was lively and interesting with excellent Hawaiian fusion cuisine. Saturday was the big multi-author book fair with over 300 authors signing. I loved meeting the many readers who stopped by to have me sign books for them!
Then Saturday afternoon I attended my first Mr. Romance competition with Pamela Spengler-Jaffee and Avon editor Erika Tsang. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. My favorite, Len G, won. (His pic at right.) I can totally see him on the cover of a book. Maybe one of mine!