This year RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference is taking place as I write this in Orlando, Florida - more specifically at the Disney Swan and Dolphin hotel. I live about 40 minutes from this HUGE hotel. There was no way I could pass up the chance to meet some of my favorite authors and (as an added bonus) fellow bloggers: Kristie J, Wendy the SuperLibrarian, Rosie, AztecLady and AnimeJune!
I took a half day at work because I was completely useless. I was too busy thinking about the exciting evening I had ahead of me. I had my books picked out that I wanted to get signed. I thought I was being very good because I only had seven books picked out, one for each of my favorite authors.
I got to the hotel around 4:30 and the book signing was at 5:30. There was already a line forming at the room were the signing was being held. Fortunately, there was a bench near the line that only one lady was sitting on and I sat on the other side. She was very friendly. She flew all the way from Chicago to attend the book signing for her teenage daughter. They were not even attending the conference. They just came for the book signing. What a cool Mom!
The neat thing about sitting on the bench was that at about 5:00 and onward I was able to watch a parade of authors go by. Pretty much every author who was attending the signing walked by me and some I recognized right away and was able to say "Hi" as they passed by. (I know. I am a total dweeb!) It was doubly cool when I would say "Hi" and an author would recognize me from RT. I'll tell you Debra Webb is completely down to earth and so nice to chat with. I also saw my good friend, author Delilah Marvelle. It was such a treat to surprise her because she didn't know I was going to be at the signing. (On a tangent - she has a new series coming out next year that looks so good. I will be sure to fill you all in on her new gritty historical series with HQN.)
As I was sitting on the bench. Look at that line!
Okay, so on to the good stuff. I was one of the first few people to get into the room. Lines quickly formed for the big authors. At least one line formed right away for "La Nora". I went to Linda Howard first and was the second person in line! I couldn't believe it. She is one of my favorite authors and I couldn't fathom why everybody wasn't in her line. I got her autograph and then moved on to Suzanne Brockmann, whose line was also short!! What crazy parallel universe had I landed in?! I was a total spaz when I talked to Suz. I had just finished her latest release Infamous earlier that day and had to tell her how much I enjoyed it (review to post soon).
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Then I went around getting other signatures that I wanted. Come to find out, you were only supposed to bring in 5 books and I had 7. Nobody policed me though (phew)! As I was walking around, I happened to walk by Wendy (the Super Librarian) and introduced myself. That was fun. It's crazy to me that I can just say, "Hey, I'm Jill, Romance Rookie." and she knew who I was. I had plans to meet up with the bloggers after the signing.
After I finished with the signing I was walking out of the room and lo and behold I see Kristie J sitting right next to the very same bench I had sat on waiting for the signing to open. She was totally surprised and we hugged and then immediately went into a conversation about what books we got signed and so forth. LOL, you have got to love it!
I went back to Kristi's room while we waited for the signing to finish up. Kristie showed me her Kobo (the borders or chapter ebook reader). I couldn't believe how light it was. It was much lighter than the kindle or Sony ereader and just as big.
Top row - books Kristie J got in her RWA bag that she gave me :)
Middle row - books I purchased at the signing (except the last one they gave me at checkout)
Bottom row - The books I brought that I got signed.
Then Wendy got back to the room and proceeded to show us all the books she got at the librarian goody room. Damn! She got a lot of good stuff! We all headed down to a bar over by the pool and preceeded to have dinner, drink and good conversation. I was able to meet Rosie, AztecLady, Magdalen and three ladies from AAR - Blythe, Lynn and Sandy. That was surreal because my romance online experience was reading their reviews!
As you can see I had a fabulous time. I tried to do justice to my experience and I have to say, this might just be my longest post yet, LOL! I think I will leave you with this... My favorite memory of the night is getting to put a real "voice" to Wendy the Superlibrarian. She has the most wonderful midwestern twang to her accent that makes me think of solid, honest people. Every time I read a post by her, I now can truly hear her in my head.
Somehow, I didn't take picture of the actual blogger bash. I don't know how I managed that one!