Conventions

PhotobucketWhen Sunday of Romanticon rolled around everyone was a buzz. I spent the morning in workshops. The first was presented by Tawny Taylor, Joey Hill, and Diana Hunter. They did a wonderful job talking about researching and writing BDSM. This new genre is exploding onto the erotic romance market. It seems readers can’t get enough. Their presentation was informative and fun. I couldn’t take notes fast enough.

I followed this with another reader driven workshop on taboos in erotic romance. Publisher, Raelene Gorlinski moderated the Photobucketdiscussion. She began by asking about female body parts … what words were sexy and what words were a total turn-off. After we giggled our way through that we started on to man parts and then euphemisms for sex and everything associated with it. It was both hysterical and eye opening.

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Then the authors ran out to get everything set up for the book signing. The highlight of the whole weekend. It was open to the Photobucketpublic as well. I can’t tell you how much fun I had. I sat between Kate Poole and Lee Pearce. We had a wonderful chatting with each other and readers. Though I had no print books, EC provided me with beautiful cover flats which I signed for readers. They could also purchase the ebooks if they chose. Which was really a lot of fun. Rodney, the cover model for my novella, Divine Deception stopped by. We signed a cover flat for each other. He’s the nicest man. It was so much fun to meet him. EC also had more drawings for gift baskets. (Someone found a roll of tickets that started with 69 … you decide if that was accidental or not. So everytime the winning ticket was announced we all hooted, hollered and giggled.) Near the end of the books signing EC gave away a Sony e-reader. When it came time for the netbook computer Rodney so kindly did a little strip tease as he read out each number. It really was a ton of fun.

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We had a couple of hours to recover before the final bingo event. There was pizza and laughing and visiting. I misunderstood and thought we were going to use author secrets that had been posted on the EC website throughout the summer for the bingo. So I came armed with a list of authors and their secrets. We had good laughs learning what was “behind” the secret. It was fun. The prize for the last game was registration for 2010 Romanticon. And guess who won … ME! I’m so excited.

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After such a wonderful weekend it’s nice to know I can already make plans for next year!

Chapter 2–

Friday afternoon I went to my first workshop on “researching and writing male/male” presented by Kaenar Langford, Samanatha Kane, Jory Strong. It was all amazing information, but I’d be lying if I said that Kaenar’s description of her research field trip wasn’t the highlight. Kaenar got to tour a male only spa in Canada. Though it was closed the day she went, her description of the smells and sensual areas of the spa had me clenching my thighs and shifting in my chair. The woman sure knows how to paint a vivid picture with her words. I also spent part of the afternoon meeting and visiting with authors I’ve only known online.

Friday night we donned our hippie attire and headed for the Psychodelic Soiree. The cavemen entertained us with a dance.

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And then we we rocked to some awsome old rock ‘n roll music. I’m sure I’ll be showing my age when I say I sang along with the music (but so did most of the people at my table). And don’t worry … it was loud enough so no one heard my off-key rendition. Then Austen Powers and his fembots hosted a dance contest. The final three got to dance with the cover models. Sadly, I wasn’t one of the lucky gals.

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(Samantha Kane, “Austen” & Mari Freeman)

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(Author Ruby Storm and cover model Rodney)

We had a ball. I fell into bed exhausted and the alarm sounded waaay too early on Saturday. I grabbed my bag of goodies and Mr. Nina grabbed his golf clubs and we headed out in opposite directions. I spent the morning in a workshop about promo material. Again, this was a reader driven workshop. We got to hear all about what readers love to get and what things don’t really do much for them. One reader said she felt the promo material was a gift from the author. That really warmed my heart. I spent the rest of the morning at author mania which was an informal gathering of authors and readers. It was so much fun.

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(Authors Marianne Stephenson and Joanna Waugh and EC Reader Dottie)

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Author Teri Thackston and Nina

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Author Tilly Greene and readers

I was invited to attend a luncheon with my first editor at EC, Helen Woodall. Helen came to Romanticon all the way from Australia. She wanted to share some of her homeland with her authors. So we all sat down to sandwiches of vegemite. Helen explained how to prepare the bread (like you do toast in the morning, so I put butter on mine). But spreading the vegemite from the bright yellow tubes took special instruction. You need to spread a VERY THIN layer of the brown goo over your buttered bread. Before we could eat Helen had us sing the vegemite song. Which was very funny. And the vegemite? Well, let’s just say the very salty brown goo is an acquired taste. Helen soothed it all over by sharing Tim Tams with us. Yummy chocolate covered cookies in all kinds of flavors. She also gave us all a “save the frogs” wrist band and a cute koala bear that clipped to our name tags. It was really fun.

Vegemite

(We’re not sure about these yellow tubes of vegemite)

I spent the afternoon at another reader panel about BDSM books and visiting with more readers. Let me just tell you, an author never gets tired of hearing “I love your books.” It makes me smiley all over. I also got a chance to talk with several aspiring authors and it was an absolute joy sharing our journeys. Here are more pics from Romanticon…

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(Publisher Raelene Gorlinski and authors Lynn LaFleur and Regina Carlysle)

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(EC reader/book reviewer and Nina) 

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I met Mr. Nina for a quick bite to eat. He found the coolest tavern nearby. A neighborhood bar with the regular’s mugs hanging around the circular bar and an antique bike horn they honked whenever they get a good tip. We thought we had plenty of time to snag a beer and a burger and enjoy the wonderful atomsphere but it turned out I didn’t. The wonderful waitress rushed Mr. Nina’s order so he could take it out. I have no doubt that tavern will be landing in one of my books some day. I rushed back to the hotel and put on my sexy duds and headed out for an appreciation dinner. The cavemen were patient enough to let me slip in and get another picture with them

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before they entertained us with another dance. (I’ll tell you, all this cover model flesh was the most tedious part of the weekend–NOT!)

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(Cavemen dance for Jeania)

EC then honored each new 2009 author with a “rising star” award. And since the microphone wasn’t working I did try to snag Lee Pearce’s trophy as well as mine. She managed to wave me off and I waited patiently for my own. The cute little star is sitting on a special place on my desk. EC then awarded several “superstar awards” for categories such as “most innovative dinner scene”, “most erotic emails”, “hottest heroes who love heroes”, and “I want that sex toy catalog” to name a few.

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The night ended with lots of laughter and some hanging out in the bar. Come back on Friday for the final chapter of Romanticon 2009.

**NOTE – A quick thanks to all the other authors who attended Romanticon and were generous enough to share their photos. I’ve copied so many I’m no longer sure which are mine and which ones belong to others. Thanks again everyone!

After another quick trip around Niagra falls we pointed the van west and headed for Ohio. We didn’t need to check into the hotel until later in the afternoon so we could take our time and meander our way through NY, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Mr. Nina became the king of the shanty town tour. It seemed every time he chose to take a detour we ended up in some interesting neighborhoods. Let’s just say I was glad we were traveling through them during the day. I decided his motto was “Shanty tour–all the sights unfit to be seen”. Of course I’m so blind I can’t read the map or the highway signs until we’re right on top of them so I have no right to complain where we end up. We did finally make it to Lake Eerie. Mr. Nina insisted I take a picture. So I did …

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Nope nothing exciting. he was just so amazed it looked more like an ocean than a lake (kinda smelled like it too). I couldn’t resist the picture of the gull. Then off we headed to the Lake Eerie state park for a potty break and picnic lunch. (The added bonus of travel with me and my pea-sized bladder is that you get to tour every rest stop and gas station along the route. Mr. Nina’s a lucky man!)

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We got to the hotel in Richfield Ohio late in the afternoon, checked in with Jeania and Val (who really were the backbone of RomantiCon), organized my promo stuff and settled into the wonderful room that Jeania fanagled for us. (Read that as a romantic suite with a king-sized bed. Yee-ha!) And then headed out for the unofficial beginning of Romanticon. It was hospitality hour and hanging with the Ellora’s Cavemen. I had sex on the beach (it’s a drink you naughty-minded people) and all these wonderful hunks …

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(Don’t believe everything you hear … I did NOT stalk Angelo all weekend.)

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Friday morning Mr. Nina and I hooked up with authors Adele Dubois, Dalton Diaz, Lee Pearce, and Samantha Cayto for a tour of Ellora’s Cave offices and printing press. It was so cool to see where everyone hangs out. We were the last to arrive and Patty still had the energy to show us her 15′ python that hangs out in a huge glass case in her office and tell us the history of Ellora’s Cave. I never knew any of the stuff she shared with us. Patty then toured us around the office and we peeked into everyone’s cubicles and offices. When we first walked into our publisher, Raelene Gorlinsky’s office I noticed three things 1) she’s immaculately neat, the books on her shelves are straight and stored by size 2) the numerous liquor bottles that fill the top of one of her book shelves and 3) the bullwhip on the leather couch. Turns out the liquor bottles all had sexy names and the bullwhip … well, I never did get the story on that.

From there we went to the printing press where Randy proudly shared the whole printing process. We got to see the pages roll off the printer, be cut, collated and bound. Adele, Samantha and Dalton all got to see their print books in the warehouse. Adele and Samantha for the first time. It was fun living vicariously through them. We actually watched them making the book on ther left. It was wicked cool. And you know how they say “hot off the press” that’s because the glue is still warm when they finish the process. I held warm books in my hands. When I hold my first print book I’ll remember that day.

Oh, and here’s all the beautiful pictures I took to share with you … Oh, yeah, Nina (the ninny) forgot her camera. So you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say the offices and stuff were really neat.

Dalton left early with Samantha and her GPS and we stayed to see a few other things. But we weren’t worried, Mr. Nina had Val’s printed directions to get from the office back to the hotel. Only one glitch … an accident closed the only road that took us back to Richfield. Seriously. The detour shot us back on the highway in the direction we’d come. We got off at the first exit had some lunch and got directions back to Richfield. Guess where they sent us? Back to the closed road with the accident. (And I thought Maine was the only place you “can’t get theah from heah”) THIS time we got directions from the young woman in the construction truck blocking the road. Let me just tell you 3 rights and a left is a lot harder than it sounds. Anyway, we FINALLY got back to the hotel with time to spare for the Friday afternoon workshops.

Come on back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about the rest of the day. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures I took of some good looking cover models…

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So I’m leaving today to go to the New England writer’s conference down in Framingham, MA. It’s only 2 days, but I live so flippin’ far from everyone I add a day of travel on either end. Anyway. I just thought I’d list all the things I love about this conference. (And they’re in no particular order.)

1. Riding from southern Maine to Framingham with some Maine writers. I never get to see them for extended periods of time.

2. Finally getting to see my CP … JEN! I lubs Jen. I talk to her nearly every day, but we both live on opposite borders of Maine so we rarely see each other.

3. Food! They have delicious food and I neither have to cook nor do dishes. I’ll be in heaven!

4. Laughing – It seems like all I do. It’s the best workout for my abs. I love laughing.

5. Meeting Mima (and other Divas). This is the first conference I’m going to where I finally get to meet some of my friends from the internet. I can’t wait!

6. Workshops. There are always wonderful workshops planned at these things. I love just hanging out and listening to other writers talk about writing.


(Oh, baby … my kind of workshop!)

7. Books! Books! and more Books! Every time you turn around there’s another free book on your seat at your place setting. They’re everywhere. Not that I need more books for my TBR pile that’s now flowing out of the two huge book bags next to my bed, but I always want more! Mwahahaha …

8. Little bottles of liquor. They just seem to appear from purses, bookbags, suitcases … they’re everywhere! (Or maybe that’s just me.)

9. Brainstorming. I love to talk plots and twists. I’ll talk about other people’s stories, my stories, it doesn’t matter. Just talking all that writerly stuff is great!

10. Books on CD. The ride is soooo long I usually get to listen to two books on my trip. Great way to catch up on some books I’ve been dying to read, but don’t have time.

11. Amazing writers. They are all over the place. Along with their agents and editors. It’s fun rubbing elbows with them. I’ve met some NYT best selling authors and it tickles me pink every time!

12. Talking. There are so many people I can talk to my heart’s content and I don’t wear out one person. I don’t even mind when they pass me off … the lips just keep flapping. Really, for your own safety … step away from the moving mouth!

13. Getting away from northern Maine. I understand spring has arrived in other parts of the world. I can’t wait to see it for myself!

Last weekend I went to Portland, Maine to attend the Kiss of Death writer’s retreat. The KOD chapter of RWA is focused on the suspense and mystery aspects of writing. It was in my backyard … how could I not attend?

Now, I gotta tell you, it was wonderful. I don’t do conferences well, they often effect me in a negative way. But I walked away feeling motivated and with a better understanding of how to persue my passion … writing. Here are 13 reasons it was so amazing.

1. It was held at the Regency Hotel in the Old Port section of Portland.

2. I got to experience the international aspect of RWA. My roommate was from another country! Okay, so she was from Canada, which is just up the road from me. I’m just saying …

3. Mary Buckham and Diana Love did several of the workshops. They are amazing teachers. If you ever have a chance to take a class from them … DO IT!

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Nina and Mary Buckham

4. There was valet parking. Okay, this was just kinda weird. They took your car to some undisclosed location (one guest asked more than once and they wouldn’t tell her), but it was okay, I didn’t need anything from my car and there’s absolutely NO parking available anywhere in the Old Port.

5. Raelene Gorlinsky from Ellora’s Cave gave an absolutely hysterical presentation on agent/editor relationships, comparing them to a Victorian marriage, complete with marrying a stranger to paramours. It was a hoot.

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(Raelene and Nina)

6. Drinks in the lounge at the Regency. Here’s a shout out to an amazing waiter … Kevin! He dared serve a dozen crazy romance authors (and one naughty erotic author) some alcohol! Not just one night, but two! You know the saying, what happens in Portland …

(Oh, that’s not Kevin, I had to get the eye candy
in here somehow!)

7. We ate at an awesome restaurant … Bull Feeneys. An old renovated warehouse.

(I had pictures of the inside, but margaritas and cameras just don’t mix!)

8. Danny Agan, a retired detective from Atlanta, Georgia did an amazing presentation. He told all kinds of stories from his years as a detective. It was awesome … complete with a crime scene recreation. Then I talked to him at lunch and got even more inside information. I know, that totally surprises you, doesn’t it?

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(Danny’s on the right … just sayin’)

9. I got to meet agent, Meg Ruley from the Rostrosen agency. She did another great presentation about being an agent. And no, I don’t have a picture. I have no idea why. *sigh* But take my word for it, she’s just about the nicest, down-to-earth person you could meet.

10. NYT Bestselling author, Lisa Gardiner did a workshop on writing suspense. I am in total awe of this woman and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her over the weekend.

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(Lisa Gardiner and Maine author, Susan Vaughan)

11. I got to do my first book signing!

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12. I got to enjoy margaritas. I know this is nothing new, but it’s still one of my favorites!

13. On Saturday, RITA-winning author, and dear friend of the Maine authors, Kristan Higgins, came by the lounge with her hunky firefighter husband (who helped with Shadows of Fire) and had a drink with  us. Let’s just say I laughed a lot and forgot to take pictures. (Obviously margaritas were involved here as well.)

Wow, not sure how Monday came zooming in so fast. I could have sworn it was last week not an hour ago! This is a crazy time for me with all the traveling. Of course I’ve been to Massachusetts to see Beautiful Girl and then the weekend after that to the Highland Games in Antigonish Nova Scotia. Which was an absolute blast!

I got a new camera just before our trip to MA, but haven’t slotted the software into the computer to learn how to download the pictures. *sigh* I know it’s not a big deal, but it’s just finding the time to do it … ya know?

Anyhoodles … the games were wonderful and I’m going to force myself to download pictures so I can share them with you this week … I promise. I never  rarely mostly always follow through on my promises … so be looking for some more info on the wonderful time coming soon this week.

I know I owe you the last installment of Test Drive and I had every intention of posting that as well, this weekend, but time just slipped away from me. I’d like to say it was because I was away from my computer, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, my wonderful husband looked at me Friday morning as I hauled my packed bag into the kitchen, every bit drained and worn out with my MS acting up and he forbid me to get in the car and travel again. Mwah. I had been vacillating anyway because all the travel was wearing me out, but to have him make the decision for me was a Godsend. So off my family went to Acadia near Bar Harbor to do some hiking (which I can’t do anyway) and walking in the woods (umm, that’s another no) and spending time with our extended family (which I’m totally sad I missed out on).

But I babysat the dog which was another whole issue and sat at my computer and worked on my firefighter story. I’m happy to say it’s half way (or a third depending on how often my characters decide to get jiggy) and I’m really cruising on it. So that’s good. Which is why I didn’t blog this weekend and why I didn’t finish writing Test Drive … which was a very bad thing. But you’ll have it this weekend even if I have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning!

So, now I have to really push ahead and finish my fireman novella (which has a new and wonderful paranormal twist in it) and do all the mom stuff like laundry and cook dinner (silly family … not sure why they have to eat).

Little Boy Blue is at engineering camp for students going into their senior year, trying to find out if it’s something he’d like to study in college. He’s been to basketball camp for three years, so the whole dorm/roommate thing isn’t new to him, but I always hope he makes new friends and has a good time. He’s at the University of Maine and they do give them rec time to swim and stuff. I’m such a mom … I just hope he enjoys it. I go down Wed. morning to see their competition and to pick him up. Hopefully, he’ll only have good stories to tell.

This week is also the National convention for RWA in San Francisco. LOTS of authors I know are going. I’d love to be there with them, but it wasn’t in the cards this year. Next year it’s in DC, and I can drive. So I’m setting my sights on going then. I hope everyone has a wonderful time there too!

So, that’s what I’m doing right now. But I really need to focus on Reese and Alexandra … my two new characters. They’re both hoping I’ll find a little more trouble for them in the next couple of chapters. And who knows what that villain’s up to!

Later all!

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