RT 2014 Wrap-Up

Well, I have my second RT under my belt. I had fun, I learned things, I’m still kind of a post-con zombie.

Highlights:

• I saw 3 panels (that’s 1 more than last year! It’s tough finding the time in that daunting schedule to see and do everything). The first was an LGBT panel moderated by Sarah Frantz featuring Suzanne Brockmann, SE Jakes, KA Mitchell, Marie Sexton, and Heidi Belleau. The third was also an LGBT panel moderated by Sarah Frantz, this one featuring Ruth Sternglatz (an editor at Bold Strokes Books), Christopher Rice, Heather Osborn from Samhain, Amy Lane, blogger Joyfully Jay, and Kelly Jamieson. Both were enjoyable and everyone had interesting things to say. I also attended a panel on multicultural romance moderated by RT editor Mala Bhattacharjee featuring Farrah Rochon, Alisha Rai, Jeannie Lin, and Sandra Kitt. That was also pretty great.

Someone asked me to compare RT and RWA panels. I think panels at RWA are more educational; panels at RT are mostly about seeing people you admire say interesting things. I’m not sure I learned anything new at any of the panels I went to, but I did really enjoy them all. Also I ended up winning the hardcover of Suzanne Brockmann’s new book at that first panel, which made me ridiculously happy. (I can fangirl with the best of them, too.)

• I helped out with Cinema Craptastique—if you don’t know, that’s basically live MST3K—and we had a lot of weird technical difficulties, but we got it up and running in time. I highly encourage everyone to fly in early to attend.

• I co-hosted a game party called Romance Pride Wheel of Fortune. The readers seemed to have fun and I will totally do it again next year, though it felt a little chaotic. It’s good to have these experiences and work out what will work better the next time.

• I won a fifth of bourbon playing bingo at a party I attended. I don’t drink bourbon, but that’s still pretty cool.

• I ran into someone I went to college with and haven’t seen since I graduated. Not only is she a romance author, we have the same agent. *sings* It’s a small world after all. (I figured it was only a matter of time before I ran into someone from my “other life” at a convention.)

• I got to wear a lot of cute dresses. Someone told me I was the cutest ever, and I considered changing my tagline. Would you buy a romance novel from “Kate McMurray, the cutest ever”?

• Then there was New Orleans itself! So much great food! So many things to see! It’s a wonderful city and I was happy to be there for the second time.

• I’m still working out my feelings about how the book fair went—you’ve heard about that by now, probably. The main point of contention was the separation of traditional and indie published authors into separate rooms, which I figured was mostly a money thing—indie books were sold on consignment, traditional books were sold through the book store. Other authors can probably write smarter things than I’m capable of writing on that. I was in the traditional published room. I sat next to Lindsay McKenna, who has been writing military romance for Harlequin for 30 years, and we had a really nice conversation about the progress of LGBT romance and digital-first publishing, and she’s a really nice woman. I met some fans, too, always the highlight of any signing.

• For me, the BEST part of RT is hanging out with old friends and meeting new people. I got to talk to readers and bloggers a lot more this year than I did last year, which I enjoyed. I miss you all already!

• LGBT romance was very well represented, which was awesome to see. This was true both in terms of ads on display and authors attending. On the plane home, my friend Stacey wanted book recs for gay romance, and I was like, “Any LGBT author you met this weekend.” It would be hard to go wrong with any of the attending authors, of which there were at least 25 at my count, all of them people you’ve heard of and adore, I imagine. (Actually, it was probably way more than 25, I’m just bad at counting, and when I mentally ran through everyone I talked to, there are also a bunch of authors who write a bit of everything, including het romance and gay romance and menage and all of those things.) If you’re a gay romance fan, this was a great conference at which to meet your favorite authors. I felt like it also warmly embraced writers of LGBT fiction.

So that was RT in a nutshell, for me anyway. I’m already looking ahead to Dallas in 2015! Thanks for putting on a great show, all of the RT staff and volunteers!

Next up I’ve got BEA next week and RWA in July. I just got confirmation that I’m all signed up for the Literacy Signing at RWA, so if you’ll be in San Antonio on July 23, come see me there!