RT Conference Day 4 & 5

I must admit by Day 4…I was exhausted. I went to a couple of sessions, but I also spent time in the hotel room for quiet and to work on edits for my next book. The view from the hotel room was terrific.

Looking out at the Mississippi River.

Looking out at the Mississippi River from the 27th floor of the Sheraton.

The evening parties were Avon’s Krewe of Muses, where they gave away a ton of books, and Heather Graham’s Mardi Gras Magic and Mayhem Dinner and Dance. I was impressed by the great costumes this year. Even Heather made a grand entrance in a mini Mardi Gras float.

Heather Graham

Heather Graham

Tina and I didn’t dress in costume but we had great masks:

Me and Tina Susedik

Me and Tina Susedik

Two of our friends:

Kate and Amy

Kate and Amy

Day 5
Tina and I walked around the French Quarters and along the Mississippi during the day to get some fresh air. In the afternoon we attended the Eloise James, Lisa Kleypas, and Juliana Gray session of making your own tiara. We helped clean up the room afterwards and then scurried to set up Jade Lee’s session in the same room. Jade’s session had Scott Nova… shirtless. Oh yeah. Not to be missed.

Scott Nova

Scott Nova

To end the night, we gathered for drinks at the Sheraton and then headed to Harlequin’s party… the closing event for RT.

All in all, this RT convention was awesome. I loved getting out and exploring the French Quarters, seeing the Mardi Gras floats, and participating in the pub crawl. The food and drinks were great but the best, as always, was meeting wonderful people who had the same interest… writing and/or reading great romance books.

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RT Convention Day 3

A busy day with sessions and networking. Two tips from sessions I attended:

1. Amazon – be proactive. Amazon sees you as a customer so click on those links and this can help with your ranking.
2. Craft – First pages – engage with a strong compelling character and let the reader know the genre.

A busy night with Pub Crawl down Bourbon Street and then the Saints and Sinners Party at Samhain. I loved watching the faces of those on Bourbon Street as hundreds of RT attendees barreled down the street looking for male models and collecting beads… not to mention a few drinks.

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Enjoying the Samhain event: Diane Petersen and Amy Stratton from Michigan.

Enjoying the Samhain event: Diane Petersen and Amy Stratton from Michigan.

RT Convention Day Two

The conference has started and in full bloom. As one person stated, “The lobby is like a swarm of bees… a lot of bees.” I’ve connected with friends, readers, reviewers, and bloggers.

This year Tina and I are giving away a tote filled with our books and Wisconsin goods. We had some issues with trying to wrap the tote but we managed. Our tote will be raffled on Friday afternoon.

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After the day events of learning craft and social media, we went by busloads to Mardi Gras World. Our first event was the Grand Oaks Mansion for the Pirates, Scalawags and More party.

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Next, we followed a New Orleans second-line band to the warehouse where they store the Mardi Gras floats. One word…. amazing!! We lined up in front of the floats and watched a mini parade with, of course, beads tossed to all of us by the sponsors of the event. We finished at the hall where we sampled different New Orleans foods and listened/danced to a live band before heading back to the hotels.

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Second day was great. I heard a lot of people wonder how they (RT) were going to top this event. Thanks to all the sponsors – what a wonderful night!

RT Conference 2014 New Orleans – Day One

Tuesday I left for the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans. Six days of fun, inspiration, friends, and lessons. My journey started at 3:30 in the morning to get to the Mpls/St Paul airport. I had a little snag with having the right ticket and no seat number (flight was overbooked), but I did get on the plane and had a smooth flight to Dallas.

The Dallas airport became a “friend” when I looked up at the board to see my connecting flight to New Orleans was cancelled due to storms. In my years of travel, I never had a cancelled flight. I think the person at the ticket counter must have took pity on me. After clicking up a storm on his computer, he got me on the 2:20 flight as standby and then a confirmed seat on the 4:10.

So what do you do when you’re stuck at an airport for four hours? You eat and drink. I had a great dark Texas beer that was actually light in taste called Texas Broc… I’m not sure if that’s the full name. I’ll find out on Sunday when I visit the bar again on the way home. Hopefully my layover isn’t as long.

At 1:30 I was ready for that 2:20 flight. So were 33 other passengers. Bad news, I didn’t get on the flight. Good news, I met Angie Stanton and we headed for the bar to have a drink while we waited. When we finally got on the plane and landed in New Orleans, we were both thankful that our checked luggage was waiting for us.

My feet and suitcases were planted safely at the hotel by 7:00 p.m. Tina Susedik, my roommate, was already checked in. She took me to a restaurant in the French Quarters with great food and great staff. My travel stress was leaving as the light ale and food were welcomed in. Oh yeah….

Romantic Times Convention Pre-Trip

Today was spent packing and getting ready for the 2014 RT Convention in New Orleans. I’m looking forward to the week’s events, meeting new authors and readers, seeing friends that I haven’t seen in a while, and learning a few new things to keep my writing fresh.

This week, my Monday night blog will be delayed. My goal is to post throughout the week on my experience at RT.

Until later….

After the Release

Gitana – Life Plan has been available for two months now. Seeing my eBook on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the other websites is exhilarating. I love to write and this was a big accomplishment for me – to take an idea and form a story, to write the manuscript, and then publish to major outlets. I didn’t have time to breath, knowing that next I had to promote.

The first adrenaline rush made it easy to promote myself and my book. I did my “just released” announcements, handed out cards and networked at the RT Convention, and blasted my news whenever I had the chance. I’ve had great help from people along the way, whether they told others about my eBook or gave me advice on what to do. I’m not sure how long the “just released” phase lasts, I’m assuming two or three months. I was able to get in two months’ worth of going strong since publication. Now I’m pooped and have to take a break and reassess my next steps.

I still have different networks to hit to get my name and book out there, but I can be patient. I hear that successful authors spend one to two hours per day on promotions and marketing. I’m ready for the one hour a day. I learned at the RT Convention that marketing is important and a necessity, but the best action you can take is to write another book. So this week, I’m going to grab that idea and form the story. I’m excited to start!

RT Convention – Our Final Day

The RT Convention is now a memory for 2013. Like last year, I really enjoyed the event. Saturday was bittersweet as we packed our boxes of books and goodies into the van (less to lug around in the morning) and then headed to our last day of events.

The Book Expo was the first event that we attended. Holy Moly!!! The people!!! What a great place for readers and fans to get their books signed by their favorite author and to meet them in person! I talked to Yvonne, a reader whom I met earlier in the week. She had a bagful of books ready for purchase. Her daughter had two bags. I went to the corner of the room to snap this shot:
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In the afternoon, I attended one of my favorite and best events of the trip. Jade Lee celebrated her 50th birthday. She had attended our WisRWA conference last year in Wausau, and we had talked about RT and her turning 50. She told us of her plans of having a roast with plenty of cover models to back her up.
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The friends who roasted Jade were hilarious. Her best friend had the birthday girl demonstrate how to eat dark chocolate-coated candies and show us all the pure pleasure of doing so. One of the models helped her. Once the roast ended, Jade gave away prizes. One prize was a large box. She asked if there was anyone in the room named “Beth.” I raised my hand and won. I received a box full of Kathy Lyons and Jade Lee books that she signed personally to Beth. After cupcakes and champagne, I went to thank her and learned the story behind the prize. She had donated the books, decals, and jewelry to Brenda Novak’s auction to fight diabetes. A person named Beth won her gift but never paid. Since Jade had already signed the books she decided that there will be one special Beth at her 50th party.
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And, by the way, I am going to donate to Brenda Novak’s fight for diabetes. If Jade’s gift was meant to be given for a cause, I will be happy to donate for the one Beth who didn’t.

At night was our last cocktail party hosted by Carina Press and dance party hosted by Harlequin. Tina and I didn’t stay out until the wee hours of the morning, but we left with smiles as we walked back to our hotel. We wish we could’ve stayed through Sunday, since RT still had another day of social events, but other duties called. Maybe next year. We’re already plotting.