Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Romantic Times Convention Running Diary
Day 1

4:07 am
Must wake up. Flight leaves in 2.5 hours. Didn't I just leave the Edgar party at the Black Orchid? I swear Dave White was just balancing a beer bottle on his head. I don't really have time to double check my suitcase. Is it possible to forget something before you actually leave?

10:15 am (Houston time)
My plane landed despite a monsoon outside that looks like something out of commercials for "Lost." Was it so wrong to assume Houston would be warmer than New York City?

12:11 pm
I arrived at the hotel, and I have to say the Hyatt is mighty impressive, plus they have those cool see-thru glass elevators that never get old. After checking in, I went to the third floor to register for the conference. There's a big line for, um, something, but I'm able to skip it because nobody else is registering in the 'P' section. I feel lonely. I do see two or three other men, some of whom are even wearing badges, meaning they're here for the conference. I hope they become my friends. There are already a ton of people here, and many of the conference highlights are actually spotlighted in a big display on the hotel wall. Very cool. They have nifty blue conference bags for all the attendees, which contain all sorts of giveaways from attending authors and publishers (my favorite is a pink heart attached to what I think is a bunion remover. Or it could be a nail file.) It also contains a free copy of the Romantic Times magazine, which has a feature on Lee Child. I wonder if Lee has ever been to this convention. My first scheduled panel (as a viewer) is at 3 pm and features MaryJanice Davidson and Charlaine Harris. The star power is already out in full force.

Houston has more in common with NYC than I thought. Even here a large coffee and a turkey sandwich cosst $12.

To get to the panel rooms, you have to make your way through a gauntlet of tables filled with every kind of promotional goodie you can imagine. Buttons, pins, cds, lollipops, nerf automobiles (seriously), chocolates, votive candles, tea packets, you name it. I give the prize for the most unique giveaway to a set of business cards tucked into a poster that looks suspiciously like a jeans pocket on a cowboy's derriere. I haven't seen this much man flesh since I watched Wrestlemania.

Terrific panel on paranormal books. MaryJanice Davidson is simply hilarious, and now I have to go buy some of her books. If they're half and energetic as witty as she is, I'll be happy. Two things I noticed in the paranormal panel. First, that authors and readers commonly refer to publishing as "New York." As in, "New York finally noticed me when...". Second, romance authors like to use slang words that describe er, manhood. The energy on this panel was off the charts, and made me excited for my panels tomorrow. Some really interesting insights from the authors, especially when it came to World Building (i.e. setting guidelines, rules you can and can't break, etc...).

Best quote (serious): "It's better to take something out than to not be brave enough to write it in the first place" --Charlaine Harris

Best quote (semi-serious): "Heroes don't eat people." --Angela Knight

Best Quote (after someone said 'I love c--k' in regards to writing explicitly): "That's going on my buttons for next conference." --MaryJanice Davidson

I finally ran into someone I knew, the one and only Alex Sokoloff. After the panel I caught up with Allison Brennan, who is simply put conquering the world. She also made me feel slightly less neurotic about my obsession with publishing numbers. Also ran into Rachel Vincent, another MIRA author who I met at their sales conference and whose debut STRAY comes out in June. Also met Marjorie Liu, who apparently has to write four books by the end of the year. People like Allison and Marjorie make me feel like a slacker. I hate them.

At the opening dinner. There are at least half a dozen men walking around topless wearing cowboy hats, leather pants, and suspenders. I think I need another beer.

Something I'm fairly certain that won't happen again in my career: two men wearing bowlers and suspenders (without shirts) asking me if I'll kill characters named after them in my next book.


Blogger Allison Brennan said...

The world is big enough for both of us, Jason. :)

Now, if I've made you less neurotic, I must have really been a basket case . . . I'm okay now. It's actually easier to write when I'm not watching numbers.

2:44 PM  

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