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text 2017-06-01 09:25
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Four
Tiny Pretty Things - Dhonielle Clayton,Sona Charaipotra
The Midnight Breed Series Companion - Lara Adrian
Bring Me Back - Karen Booth
Barefoot Bay: Shoulder to Lean On (Kindle Worlds Novella) - Morgan Malone
Killer Countdown (Man on a Mission) - Amelia Autin
Midnight in Legend, TN: Small Town Romance in the Great Smoky Mountains (The McClains of Legend, Tennessee Book 1) - Magdalena Scott
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs - Molly Harper
Ready to Were: Shift Happens Series Book One - Robyn Peterman
Hungry Like the Wolf - Paige Tyler
Delicate Freakn' Flower - Eve Langlais

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

 

Woke up on Friday morning thinking this convention is too long. I think if I go in the future I will just do the weekend pass and not the full convention because boy howdy was I tired. Not jet-lagged, just tired from being around so many people. I did breakfast but skipped the early morning author signing. First panel I went to was completely chosen at random - Path of Responsible Representation hosted by YA authors Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra (they write as a team the YA series Tiny Pretty Things). I liked this panel because the writers gave concrete examples of what to look for and what to avoid in works with diverse characters.

 

The next panel was The Worlds of Regency and Georgian Romance with authors Valerie Bowman, Anna Bradley, Eileen Dryer, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Julia Quinn. I was not impressed this panel or the questions. The panel kept going off on different tangents that had nothing to do with the topic. I left a little early to get in line for the next author signing event, but I don't think I missed anything worthwhile. A quote from Julia Quinn sums this panel up - "Who wouldn't want to marry a duke?" Real deep there (sarcasm font).

 

I then went to the 1001 Dark Nights Sparkler. I had one goal going into this event - meet Lara Adrian and get her to sign my personal copy of The Midnight Breeds Series Companion. She did and was lovely - and surprised to see someone having a companion book. I got a pic with her too. Day made 10x over. The organizers wanted the attendees to talk with each author there and ask them an "either/or" question, then fill out a card for a chance to win something. I didn't care about winning whatever prize because, once again, the room was too small for the amount of people inside. I left soon after meeting Lara and went for lunch.

 

Next author panel I went to was Seasoned Romance, Vintage Love with Karen Booth and Morgan Malone. Another diversity panel, but this one was about older characters and ageism. This trend of having older characters is making a small, but noticeable comeback thanks to self-publishing. The idea of older characters also work with other diverse characterizations such as race, sexuality, and religion (for example, a m/m featuring 40 year old men). There is a FB group called Seasoned Romance that connects authors with readers. Also, the FB group made a GR List of romances with older characters (heads up: there is a lot of Kristen Ashley's books on this list). They were giving away free books from authors in the FB group; I picked out Killer Countdown (Man on a Mission #6) by Amelia Autin and Midnight in Legend, TN (The McClains of Legend, Tennessee #1/ Ladies of Legend #1.2) by Magdalena Scott. I really enjoyed the conversation.

 

Last author panel for me was Shifters Between the Sheets with authors Molly Harper, Paige Tyler, Robyn Peterman, and Eve Langlais. I wanted to go to at least one paranormal panel, and this one was fun and funny; the ladies are not only fans of the subgenre but of each other's works. The questions were basic, but the answers were varied and experiences were talked about; each author came to writing books and paranormal genre from very different backgrounds. It was a great way to end the last day of panels.

 

I started to go to the Avon signing event, took one look at a line that was snaked five times around the door to the event, and said to myself "hell no" and went up to my room to relax. Soon I went out for dinner and when I came back, Twitter and the RT app were lit up with many unhappy attendees. Turns out the Avon event started 35-40 minutes late and some people were in line for a hour or more before the scheduled time. Again, there were also complaints of overcrowding and someone almost fainted. I'm so glad I skipped the event.

 

I went to the late night party, Magnolias and Moonshine, but didn't stay long. There was just nothing there to hold my interest. I did a quick turn about the room and then left. If you ever go to RT, feel free to skip the evening parties - they are more work than reward.

 

 

 

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text 2017-05-26 00:03
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Three
Secret Agent Under Fire (Silver Valley P.D.) - Geri Krotow
Love, Special Delivery (A Harmony Valley Novel) - Melinda Curtis
Midnight Unbound - Lara Adrian
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd) - Jen Turano
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell
The Bollywood Bride - Sonali Dev
Breathless - Beverly Jenkins
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole

Day One

Day Two

 

Thursday morning (May 4th - and yes, there were a lot of Star War t-shirts worn by attendees) dawned and I again skipped the work outs in favor of tea and banana bread. Then I headed to the Make A Date with Harlequin author signing breakfast. I got books signed by Geri Krotow (a fellow military veteran and fellow military spouse!) and Melinda Curtis. I sipped on my peach mango smoothie and mingled. A mellow way to start day three.

 

With my registration, I was given one ticket for a trip through the goody room (just free books) to select any two books in the room. I picked up Midnight Unbound (Midnight Breed #14.6) by Lara Adrian and The Bull Rider's Homecoming by Allie Pleiter. I've read both of these authors before, so I was pretty pumped to get their newest releases. I heard people complaining the books in the goody room were not as good as in previous years and I wondered why there was diet and cook books in that room, but figured they were remainders the publishers wanted to get rid of.

 

Then I went to another author signing event called Books! Chocolate! Authors! sponsored by Christian/inspirational romance publishers Revell and Bethany. This was just an embarrassment of riches for me. I got books signed by Elizabeth Camden (To the Farthest Shores), Tamera Alexander (A Note Yet Unsung), and Jen Turano (Behind the Scenes). Turano was nice enough to take a picture with me. I also ate some of the most delicious chocolate covered strawberries and brownies. However, one observation I had about this signing/publishing event was how (and I hope I am putting this as delicately as possible) WHITE HOMOGENEOUS the author/audience was. There are a lot of talented POC/LGBT+ writing inspirational romance, but none could be found here. This is not a slam against the authors present, but this was also a promo for the publishing companies and that kind of one-note branding was noticeable.

 

It became even more noticeable when I went to my next author panel, Expanding Our Idea of Inspirationals (I swear I did not mean to make each day a particular theme, it just happened that way, LOL). The panel was moderated by Sarah Wendell (founder and head Bitch at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), who wrote a contemporary romance with Jewish characters (I read the book for Romance Bingo and Pop Sugar challenge). The panel included Tamsen Parker (author of Craving Flight, a BDSM with Orthodox Jewish characters), Vanessa North (author of Blueberry Boys, a contemporary rural m/m romance featuring a devoted Christian MC), LA Witt and all her aliases (writes romances with a variety of religious characters who are also on the LGBT+ spectrum), and Piper Huguley (writes AA historical romance). Ms. Huguley talked about how ostracized POC writers are in Christian romance circles and conventions; she made note to tell us about a FB group called Black Christian Reads dedicated to promoting POC writers and readers of inspirationals. Very enlightening panel.

 

After that panel I went to the Romance, Bollywood Style reader event, hosted by authors Sonali Dev, Amalie Howard, Shaila Patel, MK Schiller, Sienna Snow, and cover model Vikkas Bhardwaj. This was a lot of fun! They played trailers from Bollywood movies and the audience had to guess what trope(s) were being used in that film. The swag bag at the end was GORGEOUS and included a lot of goodies; my bag included a print copy of The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev. She stayed afterward to sign my copy and take a pic with me. She is as sweet and funny in person as she is in interviews. Vikkas Bhardwaj was also very funny and very easy on the eyes....very, very easy.

 

As I was leaving the reader event, I saw a line forming for the pop-up signings. This one was for Beverly Jenkins, so my butt hurried to get in line (funny enough, behind RedHeaded Girl from SBTB). I got a signed copy of Breathless (Old West #2) and a quick word with an amazing author just because I was in the right place at the right time. Score!

 

Took another break from people and then headed to the Kensington Peaches & Cream author signing. These organizers were smart and handed out maps so you knew where your favorite author was sitting and could immediately get in that line. They also gave each attendee a pashmina scarf. I got a signed book by Lynn Cahoon (The Tourist Trap Mystery series is a favorite of mine) and  Alyssa Cole's An Extraordinary Union. Again, way too many people in such a small room - you could not even turn around the room was so full of people and it was so hot in there. I bailed after meeting Ms. Cole; I learned not to care if I seemed rude for leaving an event so early if RT staff doesn't provide adequate facilities for hosting events.

 

 After the last signing I got dinner and settled into my room for the night. I also learned that is okay, good even, to skip events you are not 100% excited about - because standing in lines and crowded rooms is the price to pay for attending the event. I felt today's events were great and worthwhile and didn't feel the need to fill the entire day.

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text 2017-05-19 19:30
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Two
Outfoxed by Love (Kodiak Point Book 2) - Eve Langlais
What a Lady Craves - Ashlyn Macnamara
Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War - Lauren Willig,Joshilyn Jackson;Hazel Gaynor;Mary McNear;Nadia Hashimi;Emmi Itäranta;CJ Hauser;Katherine Harbour;Rebecca Rotert;Holly Brown;M. P. Cooley;Carrie La Seur;Sarah Creech,Jennifer Robson,Marci Jefferson,Jessica Brockmole,Beatriz Williams,Evangeli
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole
Ten Days in August - Kate McMurray
Kissing the Captain - Kianna Alexander
Forbidden - Beverly Jenkins
The Lawyer's Luck: A Home to Milford College prequel novella - Piper Huguley,Piper Huguley
Tycoon - Joanna Shupe

Day One post

 

 

Wednesday (May 3rd) was the official start to the convention. I skipped the 7am work outs since I was still jet lagged, but I could only make myself get a few hours of sleep (a habit that lasted the entire convention). I hit up the coffee shop for a venti-sized tea and a piece of banana bread (I don't trust hotel catering to have enough food for all attendees) and met up with a fellow COYER group member and BL'er Lexxie (Unconventional Book Views)! After having breakfast with Lexxie, I went to the welcome breakfast; the guest speaker was Karen Robards. I thought she did an okay job opening the convention, but it seemed a lot of her speech was about previous, long ago RT cons and not much about this one. That was another theme - most attendees are long time RT convention goers and there is a feeling of cliques and talking about the old times. Then the staff at RT each had to take the mic to talk (boring)...which authors in attendance used that time to start pushing their books to the readers at their tables. Lots of aspiring and current authors writing "dark, gritty" romantic suspense is my take away.

 

First reader event I went to was Trope Bingo. The organizers did not plan to have so many people attend this event and ended up scrambling to set up more tables. Then more people showed up after another reader event closed due to running out of supplies. I had fun at the Bingo and met some readers that wanted to talk about what their favorite/least favorite tropes were.

 

Next I went to the Maple Syrup and Mounties reader event. This was one of the best reader events of the convention! Funny, smart ladies (authors Viola Grace, Lucy Farago, Eve Langlais, Ashlynn Macnamara, and Mandy Rosko) who organized and prepared for the crowd. The swag was pretty great too. FYI: Eve Langlais is pretty damn proud that she was able to put a moose shifter romance on the best seller list (Outfoxed by Love) and Ashlynn Macnamara is proud of her books' butt covers (Eton Boys Trilogy). These authors not only enjoyed interacting with the audience (it was a rowdy quiz type of event), but they seemed to really enjoy being around each other. One of my highlights of the convention.

 

Lunch time and then I stood in line for the one reader event I was most looking forward to - the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Reader Recommendation Party! It definitely lived up to my expectations. I ended up winning a raffle, so I took home a short story collection centered around World War I called Fall of Poppies. I have been eyeing this book for some time now and when I saw it on the prize table I had to grab it. The Bitches were as lovely and funny as they are on the blog and on the podcast. Another big highlight for me, as it was truly about the readers talking about books with other readers.

 

Some books recommended:

The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne (historical set during the French Revolution)

The Iron Duke Series by Meljean Brooks (steampunk)

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper (paranormal)

Blood on the Earth (Soulwood #1) by Faith Hunter (spin-off of the Jane Yellowrock series)

Roller Girl (Lake Lovelace #3) by Vanessa North (f/f contemporary featuring a trans woman as one half of the couple)

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare (historical)

Bedchamber Games by Tracey Anne Warren (historical)

The Glassblower Series by Petra Durst Benning (historical)

Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy)

The First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (sports contemporary romance)

Rites of Passage (Tulsa Thunderbirds #4) by Catherine Gayle (sports contemporary romance with HIV+ characters)

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet (fantasy)

Anything by KJ Charles pretty much

 

 

The SBTB party was still going but I left after winning so I could make it to my first author panel, Welcome to Americana, featuring Alyssa Cole, Kianna Alexander, Kate McMurray, Beverly Jenkins, Piper Huguley, and Joanna Shupe. What a great discussion! Everything from the state of American historical romance (in terms of what is being published right now) to how they go about researching the history for their stories. Kate McMurray has a really great blog post on her website in regards to POC/LGBT+ people in historical romance not being present in mainstream historical romance and that readers really have to search to find the authors that are writing outside the mainstream. Most importantly, American historical romance is oversaturated with cowboys and mail order brides - and these authors are trying to expand American historical romance to include POC/LGBT+/urbanites. Everyone on the panel had some very thought-provoking things to say about racism, sexism, homophobia, and historical romance writing. Shout out to reference and research librarians for providing plot bunnies and historical research for the authors.

 

Took a much needed break from all the people, then headed to the Petticoats & Pistols party. Here the organizers actually had a big enough room that attendees could walk and mingle about without being crushed. I enjoyed the outfits the authors and cover models wore and the design of the party. Probably my favorite social event of the convention - it was low-key enough to take in at my leisure, but high-spirited enough to build excitement for the attendees. Here I got to meet Merry Farmer, a personal favorite of mine and talk with Joanna Shupe about her panel I attended. Shupe encouraged me to try my hand at writing historical romance. Maybe....someday.

 

After the party I was tired from being around so many people all day, so I got dinner and headed to my room. I didn't expect or intend to make this a very historical romance intensive day, but it is my favorite subgenre. So many new to me authors to try.

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text 2017-05-12 21:24
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day One
Hard Luck - Liv Morris
Tough Luck - Liv Morris

So I figured that if I do one post per Friday night on my experience at RT, I won't overload my non-romance reading followers. If you want to see pictures of my time at the convention, check out my Instagram feed (https://www.instagram.com/tearainbook/).  This post is for my first day at the convention.

 

I made it to Atlanta late Monday night (May 1st) and took the airport shuttle to the subway platform. Luckily, the hotel was about 50 feet from a stop. By the time I was checked into the hotel (Hyatt Regency Downtown) and in my room, I had been awake for almost 24 hours (going off British time zone). Overall, the hotel quality was a little run-down and shabby and the customer service was inconsistent, mostly unimpressive and at times just plain rude. The hotel had another convention overlapping the start of RT, so there was no decorations or set ups until late Tuesday afternoon/night. I don't think the hotel knew just how many people they were serving during RT, because the service was slow and lines formed pretty quickly.

 

Tuesday morning (May 2nd) I went for breakfast across the street from the hotel, then set off to do some sight-seeing....there wasn't much to see (CNN, the fenced off Olympic park, and the giant Ferris wheel) in the little time I had before registration. Registration started at noon and it was broken down into different lines by last names, so things moved quickly. Smashwords donated thumb drives with 100 ebooks pre-loaded (found in tote bag that comes with registration - the amount of tote bags I came away from the convention with has to be counted on both hands). I will be honest - I haven't even looked at any of the books on the thumb drive yet (I placed the drive in my swag bag that I then shipped home), so I couldn't even tell you what books/what authors are on the drive.

 

I went to my hotel room to chill and figure out what I wanted to see or do at the first night of the convention. I did the RT Virgins panel, which I highly suggest all first timers go to. I skipped the craft panel (scrapbooking isn't my thing) and went to dinner, then stood in the first of MANY lines for the Naughty & Nice social event. It was pressed to all us RT virgins to make time for meals, and pack some snacks and water for in-between times.

 

The Naughty & Nice event was crowded; 150-200 people trying to fit into a meeting/training room would be a recurring theme throughout the convention. Basically, you had to stay in line and walk in front of the author's table, talk to the author and wait until the line moved to talk to the author at the next table....for 90 minutes. No authentic chatting with fellow readers or with the authors, and don't try to skip tables/books that don't interest you. It was crowded and overheated, no matter how high the AC was running.

 

There was one author I felt I connected with and am looking at her books to add to my TBR. The author is Liv Morris and the books I am most interested in is her sports-themed contemporary romantic comedies (Tough Luck and Hard Luck, both of which I attached to the post, but without covers Update: someone was kind enough to add the covers. To that someone - Thank You!).

 

The authors were lovely, but I wasn't impressed with how much I felt like just a number in a herd of readers and how regimented the process of meeting the authors were. I couldn't wait to leave. I stopped at the hotel coffee shop for a chai tea before heading back to my room to read and get ready for Wednesday (the official start of the convention).

 

Next Friday's post: Day Two of the convention - when I meet a fellow BL'er!

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