Hi guys! I am so pleased to welcome back the fabulous Leigh Logan who is sharing the second half of her RT Recap with us. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here. Once again Leigh has brought lots of news to share about the con and all the events, as well as some more great pictures. Welcome Leigh!
Part 2: M/M Romance’s First Inaugural Panel, Hot Shoes, Paranormal Fun, the Giant Book Fair, and One Last Night of Staying Up Too Late and Partying Our Asses Off
Hello, again! I’m back to tell you all about the amazing time I had during the rest of RT 2013 in Kansas City, MO. Let’s see, where did I leave off? Oh, right! I’m up to Friday. So, by Friday, RT is definitely in full swing and tons of fun is being had. Everyone is running on pure adrenaline to fit in all the panels, workshops, cocktail hours, late night parties, and then hanging out with friends until you force yourself to bed to get at least a couple hours of sleep.
Friday was a very exciting, very special day this year at RT. It was the day of the FIRST EVER M/M ROMANCE PANEL! YAY!!!! Our beloved M/M romance has made a name for itself in the huge romance community, and the powers-to-be are taking notice. This very first panel was titled, “Man, Oh Man: Why Women Love M/M,” and the panelists included Tara Lain, Amy Lane, Z.A. Maxfield, Belinda McBride, and Damon Suede.
Every seat in the room was taken, and there were a lot of people standing as well. The panel was so full of life and energy, and the excitement of being a part of RT history was nearly uncontainable. Here is a great picture of Tara Lain, and her enthusiasm just jumps right off of the photo!
Of course, this was true for all of the panelists. Each panelist gave their thoughts on why M/M romance is so appealing and growing, and I believe it was Amy Lane and Damon Suede who coined the most poignant phrase of the panel (and very possibly, the con): “Earned equality is sexy.” And oh, how true that is. They also spoke with the attendees about how they came into writing M/M romance. Now even though I am a HUGE fan of Damon Suede’s, somehow I did not know the story behind his first published book, Hot Head, which, to put it succinctly, was him giving an HEA to a couple of guys whose friendship had become estranged after one night together. Before they were able to mend their friendship, 9/11 happened, and one of the guys died as a hero in one of the Twin Towers. So, here I am listening to Damon give this back story, and all of 2 minutes and 3 seconds later, I am a blubbering mess! Wow – I just had no idea. And thank God I was sitting next to sweet Mary Calmes, who comforted me for the next 10 minutes while the waterworks wouldn’t stop. Surprisingly, you cannot see the teary eyes and red nose in this picture after the panel.
Later that day, there was another panel, “Broken Wings: Writing Damaged Characters,” that included three M/M authors as panelists: Amy Lane, Z.A. Maxfield, and Belinda McBride. Sadly, I had taken a late afternoon nap that day (yes, I’m getting old and needed a recharge), so I missed this one. I heard, however, that it was great, which of course, I have no doubt – seriously, these women KNOW how to write damaged characters! I was just thrilled that it was one more panel at RT that was led predominantly by M/M romance authors.
So after I recharged, it was time to get ready for Avon’s Red Slipper Lounge. Here are Angela, Francesca, and I all ready for this event. This was a cocktail party where red shoes were the schtick, and Avon’s authors were giving away and signing books. The bonus of it all: free wine was being served. At RT, free booze is hard to come by, so this was definitely something to get excited about. If you remember Joyfully Jay’s post about our Friday at GRL where we drank our dinner, this was a similar night, and it all began with the wine, yum!! While there, I ran into Marie Sexton, who is fabulously fashionable and owns some of the hottest shoes I’ve seen! Check her out!
After the wine and free books, we tried to head to one more event, but it was filled to capacity. Sooooo, being tipsy on wine, Angela and I decided to start having some fun with all the posters they had set up in one area of the con, while Francesca maturely talked with another con attendee. All I have to say is thank goodness security wasn’t around!! Unfortunately, there weren’t any M/M romance posters, but hopefully that’ll change by next year. I mean, seriously, what’s better than one hot male body on the cover of a book? TWO hot male bodies! I think all readers can appreciate that! 😉 Feeling a nice buzz, here I am with one of Samhain’s book covers, and as Devon Rhodes told me, I turned it into a menage. Yahoo!! Now only if it were me and 2 men, mmmmm…..
Next up was Heather Graham’s Freaky Friday Dance Party. This was our last big “dress up” night of RT, and it was a blast! Here’s Francesca, Devon Rhodes, T.A. Chase, me, and Angela, all dressed up and ready to get our freak on! For this event, I decided to go as a fallen angel, which really is completely apropos since prior to reading romance I was an innocent angel. Now that I’ve gotten into it though, oh the things I have learned…let’s just say, it brought out a naughty side I never knew I had. 😉 Anyway, there were SOOO many amazing costumes this night! There were vampires, zombies, vampire slayers, demons, and just badassness all around. Damon Suede came as a demon – look at his horns and those eyes!! So very cool! It was a fabulous night all around! Of course it didn’t end there, though. After the dance party was over, we changed and went to the hotel bar for more drinks and wonderful company. Yes, we’re gluttons for fun.
The next day, Saturday, was the day of the Giant Book Fair. This is where 450 authors set up at tables for 3 hours and sign books, meet and take pictures with fans, and attendees get to fan-girl or fan-boy with all of their favorite authors! It is a wonderful time, but for me, it can also be pretty stressful. Seriously, to walk around to all of your favorite authors and to do it within 3 hours is impossible (at least it is for me). So I get there early, and for the second year in a row, I close it down. I made it to all of my absolute favorites, but there were a couple of YA authors I ended up missing. Here’s to hoping they will be back next year, and I can get their books signed then. This year, I didn’t plan to buy as many books as I did last year (I won’t even divulge the amount I spent then), so I didn’t bring my rolling suitcase. Huge mistake. Fortunately for me, Heidi Cullinan came to the rescue (and yes, she is wearing Superwoman colors, which is completely appropriate). She had an empty small suitcase after she set up at her table and lent it to me to lug my books around for the rest of the signing. THANK YOU, HEIDI!! What a lifesaver!
After the Book Fair, I decided to take another small rest to prepare for the rest of the night. Then it was off to the FAN-tastic Day Party, sponsored by Dreamspinner. This was a wonderful party! RT had authors of all genres in attendance, giving away and signing their books, but there were a lot of M/M romance authors there doing the same. To say I made out like a bandit would be an understatement. And Dreamspinner did such a fabulous job with this party – they had amazing totes with swag and freebies for all attendees, and an exorbitant amount of themed baskets, prizes, and e-readers that were raffled off to some very lucky winners. Damon Suede MC’d for the party, and Dreamspinner owner, Elizabeth North, and all of the Dreamspinner authors worked hard to make sure that the party was a success. It definitely was!!
Next was a relaxed drink and time with friends in the hotel bar (yes, we ended up there quite a bit). Here, the pace was much slower, but the company was still just awesome. I had time to catch up with Ethan Day, ZAM, Carol Lynne, Devon Rhodes, and T.A. Chase. Here’s a fabulous picture of Ethan and Carol, the founders of GRL.
After that quiet respite, it was off to the last party of RT. This one wasn’t themed, so for me, it was all about comfort and flat shoes! While the dance floor wasn’t as crowded as the parties on previous nights, it was still a lot of fun, and of course, I was hanging out with folks mostly from the LGBT community. Here is Devon, cover model Scott Nova, Damon, and me doing our own version of a train. The party didn’t end there, and a handful of us hung out until 5a.m. I didn’t have much sleep prior to having to get up and pack to fly home the next day, but it was totally worth it.
The last day is always a sad one. It is so difficult to say goodbye to friends, old and new, but knowing that we’ll do it again next year is our consolation. Knowing that we can keep in touch until then is a bonus. The cherry on top this year, though, was seeing the inroads that M/M romance has made in the romance genre as a whole. Not only does the M/M romance community have some of the very best folks in it on a personal level, but it is full of talent that is finally be recognized by the masses. There are still some hurdles for it to make, though. For instance, when filling out your registration form for RT, LGBT or M/M romance is not listed as a sub-genre to select when picking your favorites, but I would like to think that after the showing the LGBT romance community had this year, that will not be the case for 2014.
So, folks, there you have it – RT 2013 in [not so much of] a nutshell. To describe it in one word, I’d say it’s awesome. It is different than GRL with regard to how large it is, and of course because it is a con and not a retreat like GRL. However, it is equally as wonderful because through RT, I have met some of the most amazing people, become very close friends with said amazing people, and I could not imagine NOT attending. It is an experience that leaves me exhausted (it seriously takes my body about a full week to recover), but it is worth every single moment, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Next year will be held in the Big Easy, and I will be there come hell or high water. In fact, I plan to go down a little early because I just love New Orleans, and once RT is underway, I don’t stray very far from the hotel. I hope to see you there!!