Kansas City took my virginity, my RT virginity that is (naughty minded people). I was lucky enough to have the 2013 Romantic Times Convention as a local event this year. I have wanted to attend for several years but the day job always interfered. In this case, while I was not able to take vacation and get the full effect I was able to spend some quality time at the convention. Even though I only had a 45-minute drive, I decided it was better if I went ahead and booked a room at the hotel and I am very glad that I did. The room gave me a place to drop things off, change, rest or get some me time which was also very important. I also did not have as many concerns about being too sleepy to safely drive back and forth on the days that I had to work. Having that room was certainly worth the cost and is something I will keep in mind for future conventions. I am going to do a better job of taking pictures at the next convention I attend but enjoy the ones I did take.
Others have done a wonderful job of recounting panels, the great speeches at the awards show, any controversy, the ebook expo, and the huge book signing/fair so I am going to focus more on what I experienced as a newby. I have attended both the Tucson Festival of Books and the L.A. Times Festival of Books along with a couple of small to medium Science Fiction/Fantasy cons such as TusCon but none of those compared to RT. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, I spotted people everywhere reading, talking about books, standing in line for a book event, or figuring out which event they were headed to next. I saw old friends catching up on everything that happened since the last meeting. I saw and was part of on-line friends meeting for the first time. I caught up with old friends and hopefully made some new ones.
I used RT’s website to create my personal agenda which was a lovely feature. It helped me go through each day and determine what I thought would be interesting and when so I could spot potential overlaps. I have to admit that after I spent the time creating the schedule, I umm didn’t really follow it. One of my reasons for attending was to meet people I had only interacted with virtually so if the opportunity arose to sit and chat over a panel I picked chatting. As a result, I had some truly wonderful conversations that I would not have missed.
My first completely accidental encounter seemed to set the stage for the amount of fun that I had. I was standing in line for the first event I actually made it to which was a panel called Apples to Apples. It ended up being a really fun game full of laughter and very dirty thoughts. I heard two ladies talking behind me and I started smiling at their conversation. When it turned to the location of the ereader that belonged to one of them I had to turn around and join in. About 5 minutes into the conversation, I finally looked at their convention badges and saw a familiar name. I had been chatting with Mandi from SmexyBooks! She looked at my conference badge as I exclaimed in shock and started laughing. We chat on twitter and have commented on each others’ reviews multiple times so it was great meeting her and in such an unexpected way.
I mentioned earlier that everyone was welcoming and friendly. People were introducing me to other people, books, etc just out of sheer good will. I met my gateway adult romance author who graciously accepts my gushing. I enjoyed watching an author whose books I pre-order just because their name is on it going fangirl or fanguy over another author and realizing once again that they are people just like you. I sent out a random tweet to see if anyone was up to eating lunch and had a great conversation when someone responded. I enjoyed dinner, laughs, and great conversation with a bunch of authors and reviewers. Lunch hosted by Carina Press with bloggers, librarians and authors that was full of giggles. Several quieter but no less enjoyable meals with just a few individuals. And I can’t forget that books and book related things were everywhere, they were spotted on the elevator doors, the hotel lobby windows, the escalator hand-rail, and the hotel room keys.
Spending time around so many people who love books just as much as I do was a wonderful experience. It was so wonderful that introvert me is planning on attending every year that I can and adding more conferences to my schedule. I have already put RT14 on my calendar I just need to add the mush brain or post conference recovery period into my schedule *grin*. I will have some flash giveaways for RT Swag and books later.