It is time for my #RT15 Wrap-Up!
Confession: This was not my favorite conference (Bouchercon still holds that title) but it was a lot of fun! That was mostly due to the readers and bloggers that I hung out with–seriously that was the best part of the whole thing!
NOTE: Since I know when weighing whether a conference is “worth the money” that books/swag is important. I will be putting in brackets where those things were but I will say that unless you are really pushy or extremely lucky (aka I didn’t win a single raffle) then the number of books you will be bringing home (physical) are going to be a lot less than those pictures of books taking up a whole bed. I brought home around 35 books total. I know people who brought home more than I did. I also did not take books that I was not interested in reading.
So it begins: About a 2 weeks before the conference I went through the schedule. I didn’t want to do this too early because the sheer size was a little overwhelming. Looking back, while that helped to both get me excited and stress me out a bit–in the end I winged the whole thing. I think it was more fun once I tossed the plan out the window.
Met Lexie and Berls for dinner/drinks/fun! This was an unofficial day for me as I just kind was there for a specific purpose to meet up with some friends for dinner. We went to Kona Grill (my brother is a waiter there) and had a great dinner w/drinks. I really had a ton of fun! I did get some pictures of the hotel and stuff that was awesome. They really did it up for RT!
What I refer to as airport day which is way more fun than it sounds. I dropped my stuff off at the hotel (I actually checked in Monday night but didn’t start staying until early Tuesday morning), grabbed breakfast with Lexie, got checked into the conference (not the bags yet), ran into the Fresh Fiction crew and some other reader friends, and then off to the airports I went. I picked up Melanie (whom I spent a good portion of the conference with) and Tori (who it was fun to hang out with–she was my bar buddy). Got a little tipsy in the bar and then headed to Cinema Craptastic.
So I guess this where RT officially began for me: (the welcome bag had 3 books and a flashdrive with 250 books–going to be honest and say that the bag was awesome. The books included (3) none of them appealed to me. The books on the flashdrive aren’t authors I recognize but some of them sound good)
Cinema Craptastic: WAS a load of fun but with Damon Suede as the MC how could it not. Y’all Hercules is a truly terrible movie but he made it fun. I also came in second in the twitter game but I got thrown into Twitter Jail 3x. Which basically mean the last time I was in there for an hour. TOTALLY WORTH IT! This was probably my favorite “panel” type of event at the whole conference.
After Cinema Craptastic, I headed up to my room for pizza and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D–it was the finale so I had to watch. It was a great way to wind down before I got this…
@thegeekyblogger Where you at?! @lovesFABromance
— Sabrina (@TheGeekyJunkee) May 13, 2015
YA Slumber Party (books could be won): When Sabrina calls I listen LOL 🙂 No seriously I wasn’t sleepy yet and would have missed that gem down below if I didn’t go. I didn’t stay long but I got to meet Sabrina and crew. Let me tell you that the “awesome crew” as I called them the rest of the week really made my conference. They were a total blast and full of giggles. BEST GALS EVER!
Official Start of RT! Also the start of eat when you can because holy hell there are zero breaks in the schedule. This was kind of a turn off for me for several reasons that I will get to at the end of the post. However, totally understandable with all the stuff going on at the conference.
First: Breakfast with the Awesomes then off to see what trouble I could get into (read a lot)!
8:45 am: First Time Orientation (no swag/books) which I think would be good if you have never been to any conference before but if you attend even smaller conferences the same basic rules apply. We left this a little early to get over to the….
10:00 am Book Reviews Welcome Party (swag and some authors passing out books) which also was a bit of a dud but had hot tea! What can I say I am swayed by the hot tea. I do appreciate all the hard work that went into RT and totally think the organizers deserved the pat on the back. For a first timer though it would have meant more to me at the end of the conference.
12:oo pm: Went to Kickass Cops, Cowboys, and Kisses (you would win books) where we played musical dance, got some pictures in “jail”, and had a couple of the cover models frisk us 🙂 All around good times!
1:15 pm: Sample the Sweet, Sassy, Spicy Flavors of Romance! (Different authors were giving away books) This was a fun way to meet some of my favorite authors. I had a really good time at this panel (though it was more of a get together than a panel). Molly Harper was there so my day was made!
2:30 pm: Was going to go to Love, Passion, and Action but Loupe got there! My girl was there and totally spent a good portion of the afternoon with her. Loupe is the most generous, giving, fun, sweet, kind, crazy gal I have ever met! So glad we got to meet in person!
3:45 pm: Totally missed The Care and Feeding of Authors was still hanging with the crowd in the bar (which really is where most of the fun was had)!
5:00 pm: Missed the Cherry Adair vs Heather Graham showdown for dinner with Loupe and Melanie–it was delish!
6:30 pm: Popped into the Take a Walk on the Historical Side before heading to the room for a breather. The introvert in me hit a social wall and needed to relax.
9:00 pm: Popped down to the Taste of Texas Romance Rodeo (there was some swag and raffles going on) and hung with Elizabeth for a little while. I was exhausted though and headed to bed fairly early!
Day 1 Total Swag/Books: Welcome Bag (3 Books/250 EBooks) and 1 book from Sara Humphreys at the Panel.
The day that I discovered that Bacon and Toast was a complete breakfast (one that I would repeat the rest of the week). Seriously y’all no time for dilly dallying another packed schedule!
I started the day by skipping the first panel to go help set up for the Avon Craft Party. That was so much fun and I was happy to meet the people behind the Avon Addicts. Seriously good people! I had a ton of fun and y’all the amount of work that goes into putting on a craft panel—crazy! I only saw the tail end but they really busted their butts to make it fun. I think everyone had a good time so Mission accomplished!
11:15 am: Avon Presents: A Texas Homecoming Craft-Along (they had quite a few bags to give away)–this was a total blast though I did come out with my fingers being purple!
12:20 pm: A Perfect Party was on my agenda but I skipped to go to lunch. I was STARVING!
1:30 pm: Was going to do Hot Guy Bingo but I got there a little too late. They seemed like they were having a blast. This was also a bit of a theme the whole week. If you couldn’t get somewhere early to stand in line then you were not always going to get in. Headed to Club RT instead
2:45 pm: The High Price of Love and Magic (panel) super small room so I didn’t stay but my friends that did said the panel was amazing. Skipped out to go visit Club RT!
5:15 pm: Kensington’s Sweet Heat (2 books and a bag)–I actually had fun at this though you had to use your first ticket for a book you really wanted. The lines got long quick (lines are a thing at RT–you will stand in line for EVERYTHING)
7:00 pm: Avon Blogger Party (food and drinks) this was a great way to hang out and mingle in a smaller setting with readers and authors. It was fun!
9:00 pm: Steampunk Party: It was fun to see the costumes! Didn’t stay late because EXHAUSTED!
Day 2 Total Books/Swag: 3 Books and lots of swag (of which some was very creative) and 2 books from Club RT (which was total fun and I recommend to everyone great way to meet some of your favorite authors)
9:00 am Breakfast with Jennifer Estep: She was so delightful and fun! This was such a great way to get to know her. My friend Samantha had her total fan girl moment and that made me SMILE! I love Jennifer’s books (reading the latest one now) but have to admit I am horrible at meeting people I fan girl over. I don’t think I was too awkward but I am guessing that I was LOL
10:00 am: 20 min with Patricia Briggs: HOLY HELL y’all! We got to spend 20 min with Patricia Briggs (and her super sweet hubby) with only about 10 of us in the room. Total day made right there! Seriously could not have had a better moment if I tried!
12:20 pm: 1001 Dark Night Sparkler (originally) we stood in line for this but there were lines upon lines in there so we skipped out to do the best “active” panel of the weekend: Line-Dancing with the Literary Stars! OMG total fun! Learned some new dances and they had raffle baskets to give away 🙂
1:30 pm: Went to Lunch! The AMAZING Candace Havens bought my lunch. I was STARVING! She was sweet! I got to meet her talented son and he was delightful too!
2:45 pm: Hold ‘Em Like We Do in Texas (raffles and table giveaways): This was a lot of fun and while I didn’t win anything it was fun trying 🙂
4:00 pm: Avon Presents A Night in Paris…Texas (books and booze): Here was the first time the whole con where if you were pushy you could walk away with a LOT of books. I stood in line and talked to the authors but still came out of it with 10 books that I am truly looking forward too!
7:00 pm: RT Book Reviews Awards Ceremony: I got there late but the speeches I heard were very sweet! The Champagne after was good because I got to catch up with Avery Flynn and meet some awesome new friends. Then the party after that I was sleepy so I went to bed (evidently I am not as young as I used to be LOL)
Total Books/Swag: 10 Books from Avon (really good ones) and 3 from Club RT!
11:00 am: Giant Book Fair: Get in line early even as a pass holder. I think we were in line from 9 am (ok so my friends were there earlier than me) but it was fun talking to all the other readers. I won 10 e-books from Carina Press! The Book Fair was fun but crazy. Seriously once they let the general admission in it was overflowing. My friend Jenn and I left for lunch at a steakhouse but the pictures were freaking amazing. I loved how many teenagers came for teen day. That warms my reading heart!
3:00 pm: Just Can’t Get Enough of Harlequin/ Penguin Random House’s Passport to Romance (books and swag)–I actually hit both of these. Stood in line for Harlequin (setup a lot like Avon so if you were pushy you would get more than I did but I was after specific people) and Penguin’s bag was pretty full of goodies. I learned that really these parties were where the books are but people will be pushy. If you are in line to meet someone going ahead and grab the book off the table because more than once people would take the books without talking to the authors. Which left the people in line without a book but we got to talk to the author so we won!
4:30 pm: The Romantic Suspense and Thriller Author Mega Corral (Books galore and Raffles): Seriously this was a ton of fun. They talked, gave away things, and had plenty of books for everyone.
7:00 pm: When I learned the valet lost my car keys. Needless to say the rest of the night was a bust for me. I would have liked to go to the Heather Graham party but I was upset. I did get to read though and that was good to take my mind off of it.
Total Books/Swag: 15 Books and more Swag!
RT was a lot of fun! Honestly the best part was meeting all the people I have been talking to online for years and making new reading/blogger friends. That was the highlight for me. Was it worth $400+ ? That is a hard question to answer. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world but I am not sure I would do it again. I think you will get out of it what you put into it. It is entirely too crowded (scheduling wise) but on the other hand you have lots of choices of what to do. There isn’t a lot of time to connect with people as you bustle place to place BUT you can make time by skipping some of the panels. You also spend a lot of time standing in line–sometimes it is worth it and sometimes it is not. However, talking to people in line is freaking fun. It is from early morning to late evening so don’t expect sleep. It was fun! It was exhausting! It was full of really good people. In the end it is the people you will meet (readers and authors) that really make the conference worth it! I will be watching Vegas from Twitter though LOL