So I’m finally getting over my #RTHangover enough to do a wrap-up post! I had an absolute blast in Kansas City (even though it snowed, WTF), and I can’t wait to do it again next year (and hopefully I can – more on that at the bottom of the post)!
I roomed with the most excellent Heather from Book Savvy Babes (also one of my Skype buddies) as well as Kelly from Demon Lovers. The three of us made THE BEST roommates: we got along famously, the jokes and sexual innuendos flew, and of course there was #RTGator.
Let’s begin with the morning of 5/1: I woke at 4am and was READY TO GO! But I live 5 minutes from the airport and my flight wasn’t until 8:40am, so I had quite a bit of time before I actually needed to be at the airport.
I landed in Kansas City without any snafus. The RT Convention site says that you may run into other convention-goers at the airport. THEY ARE NOT KIDDING. I shared the shuttle to the hotels with nothing but convention goers, including author Joy Daniels, whom chatted me right up – and my fellow RT13BB’s Amber of Awesomesauce Book Club and Carmel of Rabid Reads (without even knowing it!).
When I checked into the Westin (which is gorgeous, by the way), I thought I had lost my license – I even called the airline to tell them it was on the plane! I thought it had fallen out of my back pocket when I pulled my cell phone out of it, but low and behold, it was at the bottom of my purse, where I had thrown it in a haste to get off the plane. Lesson learned: put it back where it belongs. My fiancee lectures me on this all the time.
I finally made it over to the Sheraton where the convention was being held, and it truly is organized chaos! You begin by walking through the completely glass-enclosed habitrail that connects the two hotels together (about a 7-8 minute walk) and you go through what I liked to call Swag Hall. A lot of the panel rooms were off this hall, but it was lined with tables that were littered with all kinds of swag, that switched up daily (sometimes hourly) – pens, bookmarks, candy, excerpts, pins, plastic cowboy hats, you name it!
I did wander around lost for awhile. The place is huge, there are a lot of people and it takes some grounding to get used to it. But after a few hours, I knew where everything was!
I finally met up with my bloggers-in-crime – well, Jen @ The Book Nympho found me, rather, as I was wandering the halls and we all went to eat that night as a group at a place in the Crowne Center called A StreetCar Named Desire.
That night: Disco Inferno! (Click the images to magnify
Thursday: Indie Book Expo, Formal Ball and RT Gator
We didn’t get to bed until about 2am and we were up at 7am the next morning. Every day was like this: 2am nights, 7am mornings. That is RT. It is exhausting and it is worth it. After a couple of days, you just get used to the lack of sleep and when you get home, you’re cruising on so much adrenaline, you don’t know what to do with yourself!
We began day two with the Inspirational Mixer, where they passed out free books, we got to eat for free (this is important: RT is expensive, so if you go, I urge you to take advantage of every single free meal you can), and hang out with other readers, authors and publishers. Then the featured authors came around to the tables to sign books! It was a very cute and fun way to start the day off!
We hit a bunch of panels, and it was go-go-GO all day long. We were so tired, the day is actually a blur for me, but I can tell you that we decided we three were going to take a nap from about 3:30-5pm before getting ready for the Formal Ball. See, there were a lot of nighttime events at RT, and they were all back-to-back. Since we were staying at the Westin, we came prepared for the last one at the first one. Since Thursday was the formal ball, we went to all the night events in our best!
As we were laying in bed, Kelly was passed out, and Heather was drifting off, I was too wired to actually sleep, so I was snuggled in my covers and checking in on Twitter. I saw Diane Alberts post a picture of her table and was confused: I thought she was at Club RT Wednesday and Friday. I had noted that on my itinerary! So I tweeted her. Then I saw more RT tweets about the Indie Book Expo, an event from 4-6 I had really wanted to go to, since I run the feature here called Indie Author Excerpts. I realize it’s 4pm and we are NAPPING DURING THE INDIE BOOK EXPO.
Me: *small gasp* Heather and Kelly: *sit straight up in bed* What? What’s wrong?! Me: The Indie Book Expo. It’s going on right now. Kelly: What time does it go to? Me: 6pm. 4-6. Heather: Shit, I really wanted to go to that. Me: Me too!
We all look at each other for about a second. And then we scrambled out of bed. Heather dashes for the shower, and Kelly and I shout that we’ll meet her down there.
I am so glad we went! We met a bunch of great authors, connected with publishers and THIS TWEET went out to the world:
Oh Kelly! *laughs*
After the Expo, we got ready for the nighttime events, and began with the Samhain Safari. Samhain announced that we could take anything that wasn’t bolted down, pretty much, and I eyed up the blow-up gator by the doors (there were two). I wanted him bad. So Kelly nabbed him for me. There we are, in our formal dress, carting around a blow-up gator. He even went to the ball and kept The Jeep Diva company, as well as acting out scenes from one of Elisabeth Naughton’s books with Kelly.
That’s when the crazy happened and Greg the RT Gator got his own hashtag. The rest can be told in pictures:
While at RT, I also got to meet some amazing authors and get some books signed! RT is not the book-grab that BEA is, but that isn’t why I went anyway. I wanted to meet people in the industry and have a fabulous time, which I did! Check out these pics, too:
The Avon Red Slipper Lounge Event
So I got to meet with one of the publicists at Avon/Harper Collins on Friday afternoon a little after lunch time. It was still chaos, we were both harried, but relieved, I think, for the downtime. Jessie was awesome, relaxed and we got to chat books – both of us our favorite things! She made sure to tell me there would be books at the Red Slipper Lounge event Avon was hosting that evening, and I mentioned that I was planning on going.
You guys. I didn’t know what she actually meant. Heather, Kelly and I got to the event on time, but the line was VERY long. And when we walked in the door…books galore! Books for everyone! And authors signing them! This was the single awesomest event and I’m not ashamed to say I went into full on book-hoarding/fangirl mode. Avon & Harper Collins were VERY good to the RT-goers, everything was up for grabs, including ebooks, hardbacks and ARCs:
If that’s a hint as to what BEA is going to be like, I just won’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t even include the ebooks, for obvious reasons. Or the swag, because I’m afraid to go through all of that yet! I brought ALL of it back home!
All in all, we met a lot of great books lovers. It didn’t matter that some of us were bloggers, or readers, or authors and publishers. We were all hanging out in the same places and we all love the same things: reading and nerding out about reading. It was so much fun and I am so glad that I decided to go with my blogger pals.
What would I do differently next time?
I would not arrive the day events start. I was being cheap and came in on Wednesday morning. Next time, I’ll arrive the afternoon before so I can get settled in.
What adds to the romance and hubba hubba that is created by the chaos of RT? Why, your boyfriend proposing when you get back, of course!