The plan was that I’d take the train up to Chicago on Thursday night, be picked up by Robyn, stay the night with her, and then we’d drive up to the hotel Friday morning in time for her to make the Tea at 9:30.
That was the plan. One train/farm equipment collision later, I found myself spending several hours in the station waiting as trains were shuffled back and forth and buses were ordered as replacements. Those weren’t immediately forthcoming, however, and I eventually opted to ensure I got some sleep, and an extra night with the kittehs, and instead drove myself up Friday.
For our first workshop, we went to “Honing a Voice that Sells,” from Nicole Resciniti, Julie Ann Walker, and Kate Meader. Many instructive (and hilarious) examples, and some handouts I’ll be hanging on to for revision time. That was followed by Sarah Wendell’s presentation on obtaining and reacting (or not!) to reviews, during which Robyn and I stared at her adoringly…I mean, absorbed lots of useful information.
After, we lingered to say hi, because we do not learn our lesson ever about appropriate public behavior, and the following things happened:
- We told Sarah that, due to the review on her site (and Carla Cassidy’s response to it), Pregnesia is now in the University of Illinois library.
- I told Sarah that the first romance novel I ever bought was due to a review on her site, and it just so happened that Carrie Lofty was also standing right there, so she hid behind Lorelie Brown (the two of them, of course, combine to make Katie Porter, the Voltron of erotic romance) while I burbled about Meg’s blindness and her reaction to touch and my anxiety issues and general oversharing.
Keynote #1! Lauren Dane! I am going to now read all her books!
And then dinner, agent and editor panels, and sleeping. We were too fried even for Hannibal, which is very fried indeed. Because we love Hannibal ever so much.
I helped Robyn carry things down for the book signing, then lurked in the lobby until her parents showed up. Pretty much the first thing she had me do was take our copies of EIKAL over to Sarah Wendell to be signed, and introduce her parents. I not at all smoothly passed Sarah promo for Poison in the Blood (she petted the cover image, because Kanaxa is amazing) and mentioned that Robyn also has a f/f/m space opera menage out. Sarah was a little taken aback that we were discussing menages in front of Robyn’s parents, but they assured her that they had read everything and were still very proud.
After reporting back, Robyn gave me chocolate and Nightfall promo to pass to Sarah, which she tweeted. Success! I also picked up a print copy of The Governess Affair, because Courtney Milan is one of those writers who I don’t mind buying twice. And some Katie Porter for Robyn, and some for me. We’ll swap at some point, because we do that.
I got a bit of writing done while Robyn pitched, and then there was lunch and Mary Balogh. I’ve read a few of her books, all of which I’ve enjoyed, and could listen to her talk all day.
Post-lunch, we had a session on building a hybrid career, followed by Katie Porter’s session, which was informative and involved lots of props. We also went to Lauren Dane’s session on sex scenes which, if I didn’t want to read all her books after her address, I would have after that.
And then we napped.
I wore a piece that I commissioned from Antika Nueva to dinner, and we accosted Sarah Wendell again, because we are chronically incapable of accosting her, and she tweeted the shiny and I passed out business cards.
Dinner. I’m not really sure what to say about dinner. There was, you see, a comedian this year. Now, I am not devoid of humor, and I’m certainly not perfect when it comes to overcoming societal conditioning. And people can find funny whatever it is that they find funny. These things, however, I don’t find funny:
- Women: they’re emotional and irrational!
- Men: they’re emotionally stunted and stupid!
- Couples: they’re all heterosexual binaries!
I especially don’t find them funny when they’re directed at a roomful of women whose careers are devoted to producing in a genre that still faces a huge number of misconceptions and animus. The whole interlude was a sour note of “Oh yes, there’s the patriarchy” in an otherwise enjoyable weekend.
Fortunately, we then had Kristan Higgins, who had visual aids for her keynote address and also made me cry. Followed by some excellent bar time with Robyn and Sasha, which always makes everything better.