Nothing Like RT

RT Booklovers Convention
by Renee Bernard

Renee BernardIs it a cliché to say that there is nothing like RT? Well, I’ll risk it and say it anyway. There is nothing like RT.  This industry conference has a fairly consistent theme: Professionally Fun Networking.  You can dress up or stay in a suit. You’re going to have fun. There is literally something for everyone, and this year in L.A., everyone seemed to be making an effort to make the most of their time together. The readers are phenomenal and the booksellers were so gracious and warm. Every author and aspiring author I met was friendly and interested in each other’s work and then of course, there were the editors and publishers (just to keep us on our toes!)

This year I swore to get to bed at a reasonable time, stick hard and fast to a two-drink limit, and wear comfortable shoes. Let us just say, I came close.

Highlights for me:

Surviving the Ellora’s Cave Fantasy party. I had been skipping it out of respect of my own weak sensibilities and a horrible tendency to blush lobster red when confronted with Cave Men. But this year it was Bollywood, and it was lively, colorful and fun (elegant sexy instead of “oh, man, I’m glad my mother can’t see this!” sexy) 😉 In fact, my wall-hugging strategy backfired in the first minute when I walked in, realized there was a performance going on by professional dancers and watched this one (shirtless, bronze-muscled-here-comes-the-blush) dancer heading into the audience looking for a “victim” and I was laughing thinking, “Some poor woman is about to have the time of her life!” Funny until he stops in front of me. Guess who was the first victim?

I dressed up for EVERYTHING. Just to see if I could. And I did. It was insane, but I had a blast. Beyond winning faery costume contests (which I happily did!), the best part was getting to meet more people by standing out. If I had any nervous jitters, there were quickly set aside for photo ops and hilarious introductions. Honestly, I’m not a shy person. But even the most gregarious woman in the world can get a little intimidated in a crowd of her peers…who knew corsets helped?

Hanging out with Jade Lee and Elizabeth Hoyt was definitely a highlight. I love those women! And I’m not sure if it was a highlight, or a low point, but I threatened to punch a former Mr. Romance who was hitting on Jade’s gorgeous daughter (who had been left in My Care!) Apparently, I take chaperoning duties very seriously and when he sleazed up and was waaaay less than chivalrous, I turned into a Mamma Dragon and was completely mean and ruthless. Not on my watch, mister!

L.A. Banks continues to be one of the sweetest and most talented ladies walking. It’s always a thrill to see her. Always.

Did anyone else see Ed English singing, “Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?” I keep reliving it, over and over. I may need therapy.

The COS Reader Event was too much fun. Seriously. Cherry Adair is a force and Kerrilyn Sparks was the perfect foil for her. I can’t even list all the authors it was such a star-studded event, and there is definitely a small twinge of guilt for wrangling that Oscar, but I’m not giving it back!!!

And finally, I have to say, the SOS Military Mixer was so meaningful and I was so thrilled to be a part of it. I cried like a baby throughout the color guard presentation and absolutely cannot go again without tissue, but I felt so proud to be in that room and in such wonderful company honoring those who serve and support our country with their lives.

So, I returned home, voice gone, limping from those high-heeled shoes and blissed out. It’s taken a week to remember how to spell, much less operate this computer but it was worth it. My new Aussie friends (and Tim Tam dealers) have connected with me online (I have vowed to go to Australia to their version of RT!!!!) and I’m determined to follow-up with all the great new friends (and older friends) I saw at RT this year.

If nothing else comes of it, I was reminded of how vibrant and wonderful this community is, and how magical the connection between writer and reader can be. I’m not a crazy woman sitting alone at her keyboard. I’m a crazy woman sitting at her keyboard who gets to see her friends and peers once a year. This is a vast improvement.

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