Today I have two very important items on the agenda. I am pitching Molly Jones (and myself) to Sourcebooks, and I am pitching myself (and Molly Jones) to Saritza Henderson of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. To Sourcebooks, because of other authors’ recommendations (and, Samantha Chase), to Saritza, because she’s looking for feminist erotica.
Feminist erotica, baby, I can deliver. Although I’m not sure I’m doing that in Molly Jones. Maybe? We’ll see.
CHARLAINE HARRIS AND KARIN SLAUGHTER!
Charlaine Harris (I don’t have to tell you who Charlaine Harris is, right? Google Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood if I do) and Karin Slaughter (seriously, you don’t know? Sweetheart! I live under a rock, and I know!) are doing an author spotlight, and I expect there will be a horde of readers at the door, so for a change, I want to get to something early. I’m even willing to stand in line.
The panel starts at 10 a.m., and I’m at the door at 9:30… third in line, right behind the T sisters of the awesome flapper costumes. (See Day 3 for edification.)
We sit politely on the bench by the door until two more keeners, in the personas of Amy Reichert and Stacy McKitrick arrive… and Amy asks us if there’s a reason we’re not waiting in the room. Cause, like… the door’s open?
So we sheepishly grin and file in. And sit in the front row. Cause we’re all keeners:
(Left to right that’s Amy, Stacy, Tabitha & Tamara, and I’m the one taking the photo)
Amy has a new book releasing on May 16–it’s called The Simplicity of Cider, and it looks delicious. (As it turns out, it IS delicious: check out this review from Redbook!)
Stacy writes paranormal romance. Check out her covers:
Amy and I are in the “We’re here for Charlaine Harris first, but wow, Karin Slaughter too!” camp and Stacy and the Ts are on the “Karin Slaughter, woo-hoo! But Charlaine Harris is cool too” side.
We tell everyone who comes in that there’s a Karin Slaughter side of the room and a Charlaine Harris side of the room, and they kind of believe us. ;P
And then Charlaine Harris walks into the room, and OMFG, I’m like 15 and giddy and talking to my favourite rock star.
In fairness, we all do this to Charlaine. I’m not the only grinning idiot. I mean, delirious fan:
And then Karin Slaughter comes in, and we repeat it all with her.
Here’s a picture of the T sisters with Karin:
Don’t they look too happy for words?
And then Charlaine and Karin start talking and riffing off each other and just taking questions from the audience, and riffing off us, and it is possibly the best hour of my life (slideshow, take your time):
We run over the hour… and I stay behind to chat with Amy and Julia Skott, a romance blogger/podcaster from Sweden, who has this gloriously purple hair:
(Translation from the Swedish: “A podcast about the world’s most beloved and spit-upon genre of books. We talk about filth, history, feminism, class, hairy chests, fair ladies, wacky aunts and much, much, more. From our lips to your ears.”)
and I run late for my 11:15 pitch to Sourcebooks’ Deb Werksman. Which, as it turns out, is ok, because she needs to move her 11-12 pitches to 1:30-2:30 because of an unexpected scheduling conflict.
Sometimes, two wrongs do make a right. 🙂
So instead of pitching, I end up in the Small Press Spotlight room. I say hi to Sarah Lyons’ arms again (the rest of her is there as well, representing Riptide) and take a picture of her awesome button:
But I’m really there for Interlude Press… which publishes Alysia Constantine. Except she’s not there. I give my card to the editors, promise them I’m not a creepy stalker, but if they happen to be hanging with Alysia and she wouldn’t mind meeting me, I’d be so thrilled…
I take this picture and send this tweet:
…and, like 15 minutes later:
This is like the best day of my life.
Ah, crap, I’m going to be late for my rescheduled appointment with Deb Werksman!
I make it.
“Are you nervous?”
I’m so nervous, it’s probably a small miracle I’m not puking on her shoes.
“Even after we hung out in the bar yesterday and I told you I wanted to see your project and we got our Tarot card reads?” (see Day 3)
Pitch with words and hands shaking a little less.
And… yeah. Squee. Woot.
I’ve got to tell you—Molly Jones? She’s something special. I know this. I guess that shows even through my voice-quaking-I’m-scared-I’m-going-to-puke-on-your-shoes.
(So, to clarify: Deb agrees with me that Molly Jones is not a romance, and so not something she’d be editing—but she wants to read it herself, because she wants to see what the hell I do with—and she will put it in the hands of Sourcebooks’ fiction editor. Squee. Woot. Huzzah.)
This day probably can’t get any better. I should just go to bed RIGHT NOW. Except I have one more pitch to do. In an hour.
I should eat first.
I do. I really do. A proper, good meal that includes vegetables that aren’t corn chips or french fries.
But first… as I’m riding up the escalator from the bowels of Hyatt, Heather Graham is on top of the escalator and waves to me… and then hugs me. Because she enjoyed our earlier conversation so much.
I kinda die.
And then… I eat. I do eat. And then…
I pitch again.
In the line up for the pitch, I meet Lisa Watson:
Lisa is a hybrid author superstar, with some “released” titles (that’s industry code for “publisher went belly up but I was lucky enough to get my rights back) that she’s looking for a new platform for. And, of course, new works in the pipe… because that’s what superstars do.
This is a lesson I keep on having drilled into my head this week, btw. It’s not about the current book, it can’t be. It’s about the next five, 10, 15 books.
Anyway. Lisa and I have such a lovely chat I forget to be nervous, and I just walk in and do my pitch to Saritza Henderson of the Corvisiero Literary Agency without any nausea or sweating.
And, fuck, yes, I get another, “I want to see it.”
So now I’m really just going to go to bed so I don’t fuck up this perfect day.
Except I have time to take in the last half hour of Seasoned Love: Love, Like Wine, Gets Better With Age—a discussion about the trad publishing world’s reluctance to present heroines over 30 (much less over 40 or—gasp—50!) and what we as authors can do about that.
On it, baby. Every single one of my heroines so far has stretch marks, life experience, children, and all sorts of baggage and obligations… and is still uber-hot and likes to fuck.
This is revolutionary? Let’s make it… just the way things are.
The session is led by Karen “hot heroes served fresh” Booth and Morgan “racy romance & romantic memoir” Malone, co-founders of the Facebook group, Seasoned Romance. Which you should join if you don’t write about virginal heroines. 😉
(They know “seasoned” is not quite the word. But is “vintage” better? How about “mature”? In a culture that fetishizes youth and sees age as almost a disease, all those words come with… baggage. Sort of like grown up heroines.)
(Oooh you know what we should call it? Adult fiction. Wait. That’s kind of been taken over by porn. OK, I’ll think some more on that. But although I join Seasoned Romance right there during the session, I don’t like the term. What am I seasoned with, exactly? Salt and pepper (get it?)? Paprika? … Ethiopian Berber?)
Oh, and at the session a Sourcebooks designer hands me a copy of Isabelle Ronin’s Chasing Red:
…because I have a Chasing Red button on my bag. Squee. (I don’t even remember how it got there.) (BTW, google Chasing Red + “Wattpad phenomenon” to understand why Chasing Red is a big deal… and why its path to publication is a… lesson.)
(Also: I am coming home with a suitcase full of books and leaving all my clothes in Atlanta. So be it.)
And, I also meet Gracie Guy:
We have a great conversation about kick-ass real heroines… and kick-ass real women. I’m not going to recreate our conversation, because each of us climbs on a soapbox for a bit–and I’ll spout to you about what I think really good romance and erotica should aim for another time. (What? No–I mean, yes, you’re right. I should just do it in the books. K. No lecture in the future either.)
Amazing day. So good.
Should go to bed. Will go to bed. A short nap.
I ride up the elevator with Charlaine Harris, who greets me as a) an old friend and b) a fellow professional (while she was signing my badge and as I was drooling on her in the morning, she asked me what I wrote and it was this collegial, we’re all in the same guild kind of question, and OMFG, I love her), and this is the most perfect day of my life and I need to go to bed so I don’t fuck it up.
Except I’m all crazy nervous energy and squirrelly and I need air. Fresh air. Or a cigar.
I end up at this incredible cigar lounge on Sweet Auburn:
…owned and operated by Rafa and Heather—he’s from Havana, and she’s US-born but of a Cuban-Russian mother (they were clearly meant to be together, and Heather tells me how they met and fell in love, and OMG, it’s such a good story, I’m going to write a book about it in… 2020, unless it demands an earlier spot in the queue)—and their place, Havana Cigars Atlanta, is just the most awesome cozy friendly happy place.
I meet the loveliest people, including a Somali-born-Kenya-raised-but-Atlanta’s-home ex-military police officer, an Alabama-transplanted barber, an investment planner who’s mostly happy with the path he took but still sketches and has the soul of an artist (and also is totally into chick flicks and rom-coms) and—I kid you not—“America’s most captivating Art Model.”
No, not Samuel L. Jackson. The model of the sculpture now owned by Samuel L. Jackson. His name is Reginald Bohannon.
Also a haiku poet, two cigars, and a bottle of tequila.
Wait. There is something wrong with that sentence. It’s probably the tequila’s fault.
Heather thinks I look awesome and she instagrams me:
…but for some reason—which has NOTHING to do with the tequila—she tags the photo with “All the way from Africa!”
This is hilariously funny, and we don’t change it.
So, um, I miss the RT Awards Ceremony.
(See, I’m already planning for next year.)
…and then Nancy shows me this:
…which was handed out as swag at one of the panels she attended, so of course I make her put it on:
And after we stop howling, I make it to the Magnolias and Moonshine party.
Magnolias and Moonshine is one of the cleverest things I see at RT. The party is just its icing—pre-party, 20 contemporary romance authors came together to write 20 stand-alone novellas—10 sweet and 10 sizzling. The novellas were released daily between April 10th and April 30, and the authors engaged in very pro-active marketing leading up to the releases, and throughout RT. A little—but effective—thing they did: all the M&M authors had a magnolia flower pinned to their name badge (there was a different colour for the sweet and a different colour for the sizzling novellas, but I never remembered which was which!). So once you met one Magnolia author and had a chat with her and she told you why she was wearing a flower… well, you’d spot all the flower-wearing authors so easily, right?
You can find out about the novellas at MagnoliasandMoonshine.net … and you can experience a taste of their fab party here (slideshow; take your time):
Hmmm, those photos don’t really give you much of a sense of the scope of the party. Here’s a bad video that’s a little more representational:
The most amazing thing at the party is RT uber-volunteer Cindy (she of the ribbons from Day 1), who is dolled up like this:
And here’s Alberta-based author Kymber Morgan, one of the hosts of the Magnolias and Moonshine party, and one of the contributors to the Magnolia collection, looking amazing:
And all the Magnolia authors are: Ciara Knight, Hildie McQueen, Beth Williamson, Susan Hatler, Lindi Peterson, Kymber Morgan, Amanda McIntyre, Lucy McConnell, Sharon Hamilton, Lisa Kessler, Kirsten Osbourne, Susan Carlisle, Tina DeSalvo, Raine English, Amelia C. Adams, E. E. Burke, Melinda Curtis, Merry Farmer, Shanna Hatfield, and Jennifer Peel.
…and now I must pass out again.
Good news: tomorrow, I get to sleep in, and there isn’t that much going on through the day. Except for what looks like the world’s largest book signing ever:
…and about half a dozen reader parties…
I’m going to take it easy tomorrow.
May 6, 12:13 a.m.
Need to catch up?
Day 6: 359 days until Reno!
Live in YYC? COME SEE ME!
Thursday, June 8: I’ve been asked to participate in Ignite Festival’s SLEAZE night—“an outrageous one night stand of all things sex, excess, gender blender/blending/identifying, 18+, and over the top sex pop flare.” I’ll post more details closer to the date on my Facebook and Instagram, but I can confirm that the fabulous, amazing burlesque dancer Keely Kamikaze will be reading excerpts from Tell Me and Consequences… in the costume she wears for her Naked Girls Reading performances, and Calgary spoken word poet Kathrine Holm and I will be presenting POProtica–our interpretation of pop-up poetry.
Missed my presentation at last week’s Alberta Romance Writers’ Association meeting? Two ways to hear all about it: join ARWA in time to get next month’s newsletter… or keep an eye on this blog. I’ll turn it into a post–a kind of RT post-mortem.
MY NEW RELEASES!
You know Consequences (Of Defensive Adultery) is now available everywhere, right? Good. 🙂 The reviews are starting to roll in. I’m pretty happy. 🙂
And, Cherry Pie Cure releases June 15, 2017… unless you can’t wait:
APPLYING WHAT I LEARNED AT RT:
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