Monday, April 16, 2012

Days 3, 4 & 5 at the RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago

Since the last days were so hectic, I decided to write one blog post and highlight my favorite moments.

·        I enjoyed the Name that Vampire game. The room was filled with vampire-loving readers, and Entangled’s Lissa Kessler, Caridad Pineiro, and Laura Kaye were amongst the hosts. At the end, there were tons of prizes and I had to brace myself. For the first time in twenty-nine (okay, thirty!) years, I won something—a bouquet of autographed black flowers and a shirt that read World’s Biggest Vampire Fan. I felt like an imposter, but it looked cool so I’m happy! I guess I have to stop saying I never win anything in raffles.

·        A high-powered panel of accomplished authors, such as Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Louisa Edwards, and Jodi Thomas, delivered a great presentation titled Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary. It focused on contemporary romance, which I liked. They talked about how hard it is to make a good contemporary romance work without lots of external plots involving werewolves, vampires, serial killers, etc. Everything must come from the emotions, the inner conflicts that make us who we are. I really enjoyed Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ sense of humor and how she told us she likes to have male characters who act like typical males (not like women trapped in men’s bodies). I can’t wait to read The Great Escape, which comes out in July.

·        On a personal note, I met my senior editor for the first time on Day 3 and that was, well, kind of awesome.

·        Freelance editor Rie Langdon had everyone on their toes with her presentation on point of view (POV). She has over 25 years of experience in the field and said most publishers she works with are adamant about having only one POV per scene. To some extent, I agree. As a reader, I don’t like head-hopping. However, sometimes in the first chapter I’m okay with two POVs, as long as we see one, then the other. I feel this is when I most want to connect to the hero and heroine. A lot of the time, especially with short contemporary romance novels, they can’t disclose their motivations or goals to each other. The POV (or any foreshadowing) helps me to understand them and relate to them a bit more.

·        One thing I feel needs to improve for next year is tech support. Most of the time, there were no microphones or screens for Power Point presentations. Microphones, people! Even my three-year-old has one. I felt bad for people who sat at the back during very interesting workshops and missed out.

All in all, though, I had a great time. I can’t wait to go to next year’s convention in Kansas City :)

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