Anne here, reporting in on my first-ever Romantic Times Readers Convention, which was in Las Vegas. I went with wenches Pat and Mary Jo — and here we are just after our hero panel. For more about that, read on. . .
It was a huge conference —over 3,100 delegates — which is much bigger and busier than anything I've ever been to. People had come from so far away — there was even a small group of French readers who'd come from Paris, bringing French editions of books by me, Mary Jo and others. Merci, Karen, Elodie and friends.
The hotel was also huge and spread out and just to get from our rooms to the convention area involved a lot of walking — in fact my friend Keri wears a fit-bit and she averaged 15,000 steps per day just going back and forth at the convention. The hotel even had two little indoor 8 seater shuttle buses that ferried people back and forth and they were in constant use by people who were not enjoying (or coping with) all the walking.
But there was so much to see and do and hear and look at and read! I attended an international authors' welcome reception on the first afternoon, hosted by Kathryn Falk — the founder of RT, in her amazing suite on the 51st floor. I met writers from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I also attended a librarians and booksellers reception there for historical authors, where I caught up with wenches Mary Jo and Pat, and other authors like Eloisa James and Julia Quinn and Susanna Kearsley. Pretty fabulous, eh?
The same day I was in a "Meet the Authors from Downunder" readers event, for which I brought 100 little toy koalas, and numerous packets of TimTams — Australia's favorite cookie — chocolate cookies sandwiched together with chocolate and then dipped in chocolate. The other authors were mainly writers of paranormals, so I wore a feather boa wrapped around a hat, to brand me as a historical writer — they write claws and fangs and fur, I wear feathers . 😉
It was standing room only (Keri Arthur and Nalini Singh were the stars) and we held a quiz — with questions like this:
1) Australians warn tourists of the dangers of Drop Bears because:
a) Drop Bears kill hundreds of tourists each year
b) Drop Bears are harder to spot than snakes
c) Tourists think koalas are sweet cuddly things, not dangerous Drop Bears
d) it's fun to frighten tourists
2) The most dangerous snake in New Zealand is:
a) The Picton Python
b) The Green snake of Rotorua
c) The Brown-bellied Viper
d) None of the above
3) The famous New Zealand Haka is performed
a) for weddings
b) when declaring war and before important sports matches
c) for funerals
d) for all of the above
(See below for the answers)
The next day wenches Pat and Mary Jo and I were on a panel, called Rakes, Rogues and Warrior Poets — which was about creating heroes. We also branded ourselves as historical writers by wrapping feather boas around our hats. What do you think? Pat in particular looks like she'd just stepped out from Downton Abbey.
On Friday we three wenches escaped the convention and went exploring the countryside, courtesy of Pat's husband, who drove us up to beautiful Mt. Charleston for lunch. During lunch I became quite excited as it almost snowed — we rarely see snow in my neck of the woods — but it turned into light hail, which I'm used to. Still it was a moment — and there was snow on the mountain above us.
After that we drove through Red Rock Canyon, which was magnificent country. It was a very welcome escape from the smoky atmosphere of the casino (which was in the center of the hotel) and from the business of the convention.
The next day it was signings, signings and more signings. I don't know how sitting at a table for hours, signing books and talking to readers can be so tiring, but it was. It was also wonderful. I met so many people who'd read my books and came up to talk to me about them. Thank you.
The convention is over now — and I'm exhausted. It's always that way — conferences and conventions are exhausting for most writers. Mary Jo says writers conferences are full of introverts madly pretending to be extroverts. So true.
It was my first RT Convention, but I suspect it won't be the last.
Have you ever been to RT? Been to another readers convention? Do you enjoy such things, or would you just prefer to get the books. Have you ever been to Las Vegas? And how did you go on the quiz questions?
Answers to the quiz questions:
1 – d (there is no such thing as a drop bear;
2 – d (there are no snakes in NZ);
3 – d)