I didn't forget my camera, but I also didn't take a single picture (Part I, because I do like to go on.)
So, RWA. I was there for one full day, and honestly, I have no idea how anyone keeps that up for a week. I’m either really lazy or really wimpy (maybe both) because I was pretty much wiped out by the second hour.
I went for three reasons: the meet my editor, my agent, the Berkley signing/cocktail party (which meant I’d be meeting readers from the blogosphere, and a few authors who’ve I’ve e-mailed over the years). I did all of that. So this write-up is probably going to sound like a list of names, and they will be broken down into OMG squee! Missy-moments and the (slightly) more coherent Meljean moments.
As I mentioned before, the first person I recognized was SB Sarah, and I was able to say, “w00t! I’m so glad we get to meet face-to-face!” The next were Nora R and Julia Q. And, for a (long) second, Squee!Missy and Writer!Meljean existed within the same person, each struggling for dominance. Missy did have her moment, in a “I am such a huge fan of you both,” statement, but then Meljean pretty much won out. Pretty much. Kind of.
I always wonder if I should do that — say that I’m a fan. Is it unprofessional? Does it embarrass them or make them uncomfortable? I know I’m thrilled and pleased when someone tells me they like my work, but there’s also embarrassment. Not that I don’t love my work, or think it’s great fun … but I’m also not sure what to say except, “Thanks.” I’m never sure how to handle it. Because I did create that book, but I know that, in person, I’m just me. And in person, I’m kind of a dork.
It’s easier when it’s an author that I’ve chatted with before, even if it’s just e-mail. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve moved past the initial squee! moment or if it’s become more of a human-to-human interaction than a reader-to-creator-of-the-book-I-love interaction, but … well, there it is. With someone I’ve corresponded with, it’s more of a “yay! we finally meet!” than “squee!” (although some of that is usually there, too — but it’s easier to bury).
Total aside: One of my favorite NR titles is BORN IN ICE, and the hero Gray is a writer. At one point, the heroine, Brianna, reads part of his manuscript, and her response is, “I liked your work.” (Or close to that; I didn’t pull out the book to get the quote.) And Gray’s response is something along the lines of “That’s the best response a writer can hope for.” (In the sense that it doesn’t demand too much of the writer, I think.)
I’ve kept that scene in mind for years and years. Brianna’s simple and classy statement does seem like the best way to say: I liked your work.
But, sigh, I wasn’t born in ice. And I’m definitely not as calm and cool as Brianna (until, of course, she smells his towels and then breaks down in that scene that always makes me tear up). I’m (see above) a dork. So I can aspire to that, but it just doesn’t come out that way.Â And I totally understand the squee! impulse.
So then I met up with DA Jane and Jill Myles, who, when they found out I was attending RWA after all, were awesome and offered me a room for the night so I wouldn’t have to find another hotel (Jill has put up pics of our room at her blog, as well as several posts on her RWA experience). I couldn’t have asked for better roomies. These ladies are just fantastic — funny and smart and I heart them like crazy.
I got a brief chance to meet Roxanne St. Claire, Jill Monroe and Gena Showalter (all squee!) The latter were on their way to film an Author Talk segment with DA Jane and SB Sarah, and after later hearing some of the details, I’m hugely looking forward to seeing it.
I briefly, briefly met my editor in the lobby (I squeed. I heart her, too.) Then was lunch with my agent, Roberta Brown (or rather, I had lunch — a sandwich that was huge, even though it was supposedly a “half”…and that is a good thing, because I didn’t have a proper dinner after that, with everything going on.) That went very well. I won’t say what we chatted about because that would be spoilers for upcoming stuff, hee hee.
Then … the Berkley signing. Holee keerap.Â I went in early, and found out I was sitting next to Joanna Bourne. Squee moment! I don’t think I scared her, though, so maybe the squeeing was all in my head. I know I did tell her that my dream when I grow up is to have prose like hers. She was signing MY LORD AND SPYMASTER. I met Larissa Ione, whose book PLEASURE UNBOUND is getting amazing reviews from readers at the boards I frequent (lurk at), and whose Sydney Croft book (co-written with Stephanie Tyler) SEDUCED BY THE STORM just came out. She said that she wrote as slowly as I do, but I don’t believe her. I wandered around and gushed to P.C. Cast about GODDESS BY MISTAKE, which I read way back when — and her Formorians have always stuck in my head as really freaky bad guys (that birthing scene, EEEK!) I was trying to find Nalini Singh (but didn’t right away) so I wandered around and ran into Susan Sizemore (who’s heading the FIRST BLOOD anthology (out tomorrow!)), Ann Aguirre (who is hilarious and has great streaks in her hair, and I snagged a WANDERLUST bookmark), admired Saskia Walker’s RECKLESS cover, finally saw Nalini and saw Marjorie Liu briefly. Angela Knight came over and I signed a copy of DEMON NIGHT for her (at the same time gushing about her Roarke’s Prisoner, which made me sit up ten years ago and say, “holy shit, this is what I want to write”) and I think I wrote something really stupid above my signature but I’m not sure. There was a lot of blurring going on in my brain, and quite a few blank spaces. Actually, I think I wrote a lot of stupid things over the course of the signing, but happily, I have forgotten them.
Sigh. Not so happily, I know I’m forgetting other people even now (and at some point I will come back and link all of these authors.)
Then the signing started. And you know, there is really nothing quite like meeting people who enjoy your work, or who are interested in trying it out. I love romance readers. I do, I do, I do.
I saw Ciara, lisabea, Alice, Rosie, KristieJ, katiebabs, Alyssa, (many of whom have photos on their blogs). Meredith Duran (DUKE OF SHADOWS!) came up and said really lovely things to Joanna and me. I met Rosemary from Rosemary’s Romance Books in Australia, and Kris Hohls from Germany’s LoveLetters Magazine. Jordan Summers came up, and I was like, “AHHH, I want a copy of RED!” before she could get a word out. I finally met Tina, who’d I’d corresponded with several times, and Shannon (And later that evening, I sat next to them while watching The Dark Knight.) I met Carolyn Jewel, who just released MY WICKED ENEMY, and whose writing blog makes me feel like a slacker. I talked to Chris Marie Green/Crystal Green (who is also part of FIRST BLOOD) who has the Vampire Babylon series for Penguin and also writes Blazes (which is where I first read her.)
Biggest “holy crap, I’m an idiot” moment: I was in the corner of the room, with P.C. Cast signing perpendicular to me. Well, beside us was a young woman who looked really familiar, but I just couldn’t place her. So, at one point, I totally effed up when I was signing a book, and I tossed it aside, and we joked about it. A few seconds later, she asked me to sign one for her, and it was so loud I couldn’t hear exactly what her name was (I thought maybe Kristy) so I asked her to spell it … and it was Kristin. A few seconds after she left my table, my brain caught up. Kristin Cast, who is co-writing the YA House of Night series with P.C. — and who I’d seen during one of the hilarious Author Talk interviews. *headdesk* Kristin — if you read this, I’m so glad to have met you! And I like your work. 🙂
Toward the end of the signing (meaning, everyone’s books were gone but Jayne Castle’s (Jayne Ann Krentz) and Nora Roberts’s) I went to stand in Nora’s line to get a book signed for my sister when I met Katy Cooper. She told me about going out to find the other books in the series after she read Demon Angel, and it was just the most wonderful, humbling moment. In case I didn’t say it enough before: I love, love, love my readers. And I’m grateful to every single one of you, and so glad that my work has resonated with you.
Then my editor introduce me to Jayne Ann Krentz (squee^10) and my publisher (I heart her, but in a totally businesslike way) ate a Tim Tam for the first time and debated about the way to eat it (apparently, you can suck up tea or coffee through it, but we doubted that), and met up with Marjorie Liu (a pic here!) and Nalini Singh for a coffee.Â At Starbucks, I ran into HelenKay Dimon and Stephanie Feagan (great writers, but I also heart them for their online presence).
…and, whoa — this is getting long, and I’ve only covered the first three hours. I think there needs to be a Part II. Signing off until tomorrow.