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Archive for April, 2013

Me at a signingIf you’re coming to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City next week, I’d love to talk to you. Here’s a schedule of where I’ll definitely be found and when. Please stop by and say hello–I’d love to chat!

Wednesday, May 1

COVER MODEL KARAOKE

Come sing along to your favorite hits, with hunky cover models! Join the Smutketeers and the Nine Naughty Novelists, who will be your doo-wop back-up singers, for a fun-filled hour of musical mayhem. There will be gift bags, prizes — and we mentioned the hunky cover models, right?!

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Location: Ballroom Level

Room: New York A

Thursday, May 2

E-BOOK, INDIE PUBLISHER & GRAPHIC NOVEL EXPO

Come meet more than 300 authors whose books are available as e-books, self-published and independent press books. All e-books at this event will be available through All Romance E-Books (ARe).

This event is also open to the public. Tickets are $5.00 and you can purchase a ticket at the door the day of the event.

4:00pm – 6:00pm

Location: Mezzanine Level

Room: Exhibit Hall A

SAMHAIN’S SAFARI

Lions and tigers and shapeshifters… oh my! Enjoy jungle beats, tasty treats and gaming feats with the staff and authors at Samhain Publishing. This year we celebrate all things shapeshifter with food and drink, games, music and prizes including e-readers, Samhain store gift cards and plenty of books. Take a walk on the wild side with us!

6:15pm – 7:45pm

Location:  Lobby Level

Room: Gillham Hall A

Friday, May 3

PROMISE HARBOR BACHELORETTE PARTY

Join the authors of the Promise Harbor Wedding series who’ll be there to play Dirty Minds and give away naughty prizes.

8:00pm -?

“The Bar” (we hope there’s only one)

Saturday, May 4

GIANT BOOK FAIR

Meet more than 400 authors who will autograph books, posters and bookmarks. Bring your “keepers” and have them signed!

The Saturday Giant Book Fair ticket is included in the full general convention registration fee.

This event is also open to the public and can be purchased as an individual ticket for just the Giant Book Fair. You can pre-order a book fair ticket here (Choose Day & Weekend Passes and Individual Tickets in the dropdown menu) or you can purchase a ticket at the door the day of the event. Pre-ordered tickets will be picked up at the hotel on the day of the Giant Book Fair.

You may bring in your books from home to get them autographed, however, they must be checked in and stamped (invisible ink so no damage to your books) before you enter the book fair. Also only two books from home per author are allowed.

PERK FOR FULL CONVENTION ATTENDEES:

Attendees signed up for the entire convention and who have a badge will be allowed to enter the Giant Book Fair 15 minutes earlier (at 10:45am) so they can beat the crowds of local fans waiting to get in to meet the authors.

11:00am – 2:00pm

Location: Mezzanine Level

Room:  Exhibit Hall A

FAN-TASTIC DAY: FAN-TASTIC DAY PARTY

Meet a revolving door of hundreds of authors as they make appearances every 30 minutes in this high-energy event. Be one of the first 500 to sign up and receive a goody bag filled with free books and promotional items. Choose “FAN-tastic Day Pass” when you register for a pass that includes the party, the goody bag (first 500 registrants), the workshops and the Giant Book Fair.

There will be 50+ door prizes, including e-readers, lap desks, books, gift certificates and more!

6:30pm – 7:45pm (I’ll be there from 7:15-7:45pm)

Location:  Ballroom Level

Room:  Chicago, New York, San Francisco

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Meg Benjamin

Me in my “diva coat” just before the signing

A few days ago, Kim Linger Brooks wrote a blog post at Nine Naughty Novelists about her first RT. Now Kim is a friend of Erin’s who became a friend of all of us at that convention, and she ended up hanging out with the five of the nine who were there, but she was still full of trepidation when she set out for Chicago. I think she was incredibly brave. Going to your first convention is nerve-wracking enough, but going without knowing anyone is mind-boggling.

My first romance writers convention was RomCon in 2010. It was being held in Denver, which meant I could always hide out at my house, but I was still scared to death. Finally I shared my terror with the Naughty Nine, asking if anyone else would be interested in attending since it was a fairly inexpensive convention (compared with, say, RT or RWA). Fortunately for me, Erin decided to give it a try. And Erin was smart—she brought along her mom and her daughter. Instant friends.

So why is doing this so terrifying? Conventions are great for seeing people and being seen yourself, but they’re also great for reminding yourself just how insignificant you are in the great scheme of things. When that happens (and it happens at virtually every signing for me), it’s good to have friends you can talk to, who can remind you that although you may be small potatoes, so is everybody else (except for Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jayne Anne Krentz, JR Ward, etc., etc., etc.).

In 2011, I went to my first RT. Seven of the nine (everybody except Syd and Kate) were going to be there, but Erin was the only one I’d met IRL. Once again, very nervous stomach. Fortunately for all of us, we became friends almost instantly, which meant there was always somebody to hang with. The next year only five of us made it to Chicago, but we still had a great time.

I was very nervous about attending the Romance Writers of America convention though since, once again, I wouldn’t know anybody. Then last year my terrific critique partner, Teri Wilson, asked me to room with her, which took away at least fifty percent of my terror. And once I got to Anaheim I found some other friends from my days in the San Antonio Romance Authors and people I’d met before at RT. I’ll be there again this year in Atlanta.

The thing is, conventions are billed as fun, which is true, but they can also be scary. I know that better than anyone. While there are writers who are total extroverts (Susan Elizabeth Phillips springs to mind), a lot of us tend to be shy, retiring types. Telling someone “Oh, you’ll make friends there. It’s easy” doesn’t really help. It’s not easy. And unless you’ve got a few semi-familiar people around to hang with, it can be absolutely terrifying. On the other hand, you may discover that some of your “virtual” friends are going to be at the convention too—and that’s one of the great advantages of conventions in general. You get to make the virtual real.

So I’m looking forward to RT 2013. We’re going to have a bachelorette party for the Promise Harbor Wedding authors and we’ll be doing karaoke again with the Smutketeers. It’ll be fun. But if it’s your first time, please look me up. Believe me, it’s much less daunting if you have somebody to talk to. And if you find me at a signing, I’ll be pretty much guaranteed to have plenty of time on my hands. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also worth it. So take a breath and dive in. You’ll be glad you did.

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BoltedThe Promise Harbor Wedding features four books (Jilted, Bolted, Busted, and Hitched) by four different authors (Kelly Jamieson, me, Sydney Somers and Erin Nicholas) that all start with the same wedding. It’s a wedding that goes rather disastrously awry, but it’s also a wedding that’s seen by seven different characters, using seven different points of view. Do I have to tell you how much fun that was for us?

First of all, we needed to figure out what our characters were doing at the wedding in the first place. We had a bride and groom, of course—Kelly’s hero and Erin’s heroine. But since [SPOILER ALERT] they don’t actually make it through the wedding, we also had their Significant Others, both of whom qualified as guests (one in a very loose sense). Syd and I had the supporting players, the best man in her case and the matron of honor in mine. Syd also had the best man’s “date,” the cop who arrested him earlier for disorderly conduct. My heroine’s SO was actually not a wedding guest so that left us with seven points of view to deal with.

Kelly and Erin laid out the basic wedding for the four of us. The bride and groom would obviously be able to see the main events better than the other characters. But once we had that template to work with, the other characters could all cut loose. We also had to be aware of the emotional states of the characters involved. Kelly’s hero is the groom and her heroine is the groom’s ex-girlfriend who’s a guest at the wedding. Both of them have reasons to be emotionally devastated by what happens at the wedding, and they’re both pretty upset. Nobody writes emotion like Kelly writes emotion, and I guarantee you’ll feel upset for them by the end of the wedding in Jilted.

In my case, my heroine, Greta Brewster, has just gone through a divorce of her own—something she was trying to keep from her mother and her brother, the groom. Her view of weddings and marriage in general is a little jaundiced, based on her own experience, and what she sees at the wedding does nothing to make her feel more positive. Greta also has a slightly snarky personality, not unlike mine, and her sense of the ridiculous causes her to see the wedding events in a somewhat more comic light than the other characters. Kelly’s view of the wedding will make your heart ache. I hope mine will make you grin, at least a little.

I think of the wedding scenes in our four books as a kind of kaleidoscope vision. Each person sees the same wedding a little differently, and each person reacts based on what she/he thinks he/she’s just seen. Which is all to say—don’t stop with just one version. Remember, you’ve got a lot of other ways to see the Promise Harbor Wedding.

Buy a copy: Samhain | Amazon

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