Hi gang! Sorry for the delay but I finally have a wrap up of my time at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention last week in Vegas. This was my third RT and each are wonderful and unique experiences.

For those of you who follow me on social media, I did a daily recap of events on Facebook, as well as posting lots of pictures on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. However, I know not everyone saw those so I am reposting my FB recaps here for you all. I have a zillion pictures out there, including lots connected to the recaps, but I can’t recreate them all here. However, if you go to my FB feed and look under Photos and then Jay’s Photos (or something along those lines) you can see all the pictures I took while I was there (It starts on the last day and continues backwards, ending at the picture right before Jason Momoa as Aquaman. Sigh). Look for photos I took, not photos of me, to see them all (but that option may not be there on your phone).

And that is not all! I brought back goodies for you guys! RT is a book bonanza and I managed to snag a few extra copies, as well as some fun swag and free download codes. Check out the info at the end of the post to join in the giveaway.

P.S. I wrote these out of order on FB b/c Friday was busy and I wrote it after Saturday and Final Thoughts so bear with me. I just pasted these from FB so they were written out of order.

Monday

View from our room. If you ignore the roofs it is a lovely view of the mountains

View from our room. If you ignore the roofs it is a lovely view of the mountains

A little late but here is my Day 1 RT Recap… I had a rare afternoon flight (somehow I always seem to leave mornings) so I got to meet my husband for lunch before heading to the airport. Our flight left late but was pretty uneventful. I got an aisle seats and good seat mates who did a group bathroom trip with me so we didn’t all have to keep getting up (yay teamwork!). I got to Vegas around 5:30 and headed over to the Rio.

The hotel is super big and like all casinos, smoky and totally impossible to find your way around. The rooms are huge and lovely with plenty of room. We have a little mountain view, plus parking lots and roofs! As soon as I got in I met Sarah Wendell and her Smart Bitches for dinner at the buffet. I love these ladies and am excited for our panel later in the week. The buffet was crazy. It is like a food court but you get to eat ALL THE THINGS!

By then the time difference was hitting me so I went back to the room to chill a bit, where I was soon joined by my roomie Keira Andrews and the fab Susan Lee. We ended up talking for hours and then I crashed hard. So not bad for a travel day and I got all geared up for Tuesday!

Tuesday

At the bar with Devon Rhodes, Susan Lee, Marie Sexton, Rick R. Reed, and Keira Andrews

At the bar with Devon Rhodes, Susan Lee, Marie Sexton, Rick R. Reed, and Keira Andrews

Good morning everyone! (Or at least it’s morning in Vegas!). Here is my recap for RT Day 2 (Tuesday)…

Today was the Blogger Symposium, a precon event I helped lead along with Sarah Wendell of the Smart Bitches. We had a great turnout of around 40 book bloggers who all were excited to talk about blogging and learn new tips and tricks from each other. We had lots of great discussions where we talked about questions and issues we face as bloggers. Everyone was great about sharing their ideas and their advice. And there were cupcakes! And cookies that literally made me gasp out loud when I opened the box. What could be better!

After the blogger event we went to a blogger cocktail party sponsored by Harlequin. Wine! Yum! It was nice to get to chat more with the bloggers and meet some of the lovely Harlequin authors.

Then I headed over the bar and got to spend time with some fabulous friends, Keira Andrews, Susan Lee, Devon Rhodes, Marie Sexton, and Rick R. Reed. After a great time hanging out, we moved over to Rao’s in Caesars for some yummy Italian food and fabulous desserts.

It was a great official start to RT and I can’t wait to see more fabulous folks today! If you are around, be sure to say hello!

Wednesday

Lunch at Hash House with Anna Martin and Heidi Cullinan

Lunch at Hash House with Anna Martin and Heidi Cullinan

Hi gang! I am so behind on my recaps so here is the update from Wednesday…

Took a bit of a slow start that morning and went to the Hash House for lunch, home of portions as big as your head. I managed a somewhat respectable egg whites with potatoes and biscuit but those waffles are calling me.

After that I went to some great panels. Hurts so Good focused on hurt/comfort and characters with mental/physical challenges. Amy Lane, Eli Easton, Zam Maxfield, Pamela Morsi and Heidi Cullinan were awesome. I also went to a fab panel on LGBTQ romance in changing times which was also awesome and really interesting.

The rest of the evening was pretty low key. We went out for Indian food and then stopped by the Casino Night with Kate McMurray. Folks had some great vintage Vegas costumes. And that was about all for Wednesday!

Thursday

Drinking our matching mules at the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan - with Juleslovestoread and Rick R. Reed

Drinking our matching mules at the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan – with Juleslovestoread and Rick R. Reed

OK, faster this time! Thursday RT Recap! Woo hoo!

So Thursday was a crazy busy day. Things started off with the Dreamspinner reader party where we played Apples to Apples. Got to see lots of author friends (and prizes!). After that I moderated a fabulous panel called Crossing Over: Writing Straight and GBLTQ Romance. It was an AMAZING panel with so many great questions and awesome discussion. We had so much great feedback that I posted a summary on the blog (you can check it out here).

After the panel, I grabbed a quick lunch with Susan Lee and Keira Andrews. I was craving a cheeseburger (seriously all this walking is making me starving all the time!). After lunch I took a little break and then on to Riptide Cards Against Humanity, and then to my panel with Sarah Wendell and the Smart Bitches ladies on Reviews: How to Get Them and What To Do With Them. It was great to chat with authors about the blog and share thoughts on reviewing.

For dinner I joined Heidi Cullinan and a big gang to head over the Bellagio (thanks Heidi for the party bus). Some of us went for sushi and then we walked around the Bellagio and checked out the beautiful art and gardens and watched the fountain show. Then I went with Rick R. Reed, Jules Lovestoread, Lane Hayes, and Keira Andrews over to the Cosmopolitan where we hung out in the Chandelier bar and drank amazing cocktails!

It was a very long but very awesome day!

Friday

At Table 10 in the Palazzo with Keira Andrews, Lane Hayes, and Rick R. Reed

At Table 10 in the Palazzo with Keira Andrews, Lane Hayes, and Rick R. Reed

Ok, as promised, here is my Friday recap from RT. I skipped over Friday b/c it was a long day with lots of pictures, but here goes…

Friday morning was the annual Wheel of Romance event. This is my third year as a participating blogger and it gets better every year. Just imagine a giant game show prize-o-rama and you can get a sense of the event. Like hundreds of prizes. It is amazing. Along with blogger Jillian Stein, I helped award the super big prizes folks won by spinning the prize wheel up on stage. As usual it was crazy chaotic fun! And I was so excited to meet reader Rod Batterman who stopped by to say hello and take a picture with me! Thanks for reading the blog Rod!

Only down side was somehow I lost my badge (boo!) and so I had to get a new one. Fortunately, I didn’t have any money or anything valuable, but I did lose some pins I love, as well as all the business cards I had collected. So if you gave me a card and are waiting to hear from me, please get in touch since I don’t have your info.

After Wheel, I had another insanely large meal at the Hash House. seriously this place was insane. Chicken and waffles was two huge chicken breasts and FOUR waffles stuffed with bacon! I managed to restrain myself and got a salad, but still couldn’t resist adding that piece of chicken! I was so happy to get a chance to visit with Ethan Day as at GRL his organizer duties often keep him from having time to hang out.

I took it easy Friday and spent most of the afternoon relaxing as it was a LONG week. Later that night I joined my usual dinner crew for a trip to the Palazzo to Table 10, Emeril’s modern cajun restaurant. Seriously, I can’t even tell you how much fun I had all week enjoying dinner with these fabulous folks. Friday it was Lane Hayes, Rick R. Reed, Susan Lee (again with the great restaurant pick), Keira Andrews, Devon Rhodes, Jules Lovestoread, Les Joseph and sorry, one more and I am forgetting your name so please forgive me! We had a four course meal that was just amazing. Seriously, Lane had to hold me back from licking my plate with those BBQ shrimp. I was close to embarrassing myself!

I had planned to go to the cirque du punk party (even had a costume!) but dinner went way longer than we had anticipated and by the time we got back to the hotel at 11 I was in no shape to head back out. I was sad to miss the party but it was worth it for the wonderful dinner and the great company!

So that is all my recaps (sorry out of order). I am going to try to repost them all on the blog tomorrow for folks who aren’t on social media. Thanks for reliving it all again along with me!

Saturday

With Christopher Rice. I love to take pics with him b/c he is like 14" taller than me and we barely both fit in the frame!

With Christopher Rice. I love to take pics with him b/c he is like 14″ taller than me and we barely both fit in the frame!

Ok so I’m behind again on recaps from RT, so here goes Saturday (Friday was busier so that will come soon).

Saturday was super fun stomach flu day in our room! Fortunately I had a pretty mild case and was fine by late morning, but poor Keira Andrews was down for the count all day. Let’s just say two people in one hotel room with stomach flu isn’t the world’s best scenario…

Fortunately I felt better by mid day and headed out to Caesars to meet up with Jules Lovestoread, Lane Hayes, and Les Joseph for some lunch and window shopping. We watched the pretty cheesetastic Poseidon moving stature show and then headed back to the Rio.

I headed over to the con area with Devon Rhodes where we caught the Random House party and the mystery/thriller panel. Then on to the DSP Fantastic Day party. This is always a super popular event with lots of authors, signings, prizes and free books.

After that everyone was tired out but we rallied for one last dinner together. We ate at Guy Fieri’s Mexican restaurant in the Rio. The chips and burritos were amazing. I had a lovely time with Susan Lee, Devon Rhodes, Lane Hayes, Jules, and Cody Kennedy. After that it was hugs goodbye! Sniff!

Final Thoughts

Headed to the airport with Keira Andrews. Sniff!

Headed to the airport with Keira Andrews. Sniff!

Ok some final thoughts on RT16. This is my third RT and every year is different and equally wonderful. What I will remember most about Vegas is the combination of participating in some great sessions and some wonderful time spent with amazing friends. I know I won’t capture everyone, but just a few notes and thanks.

It was wonderful to see Sarah Wendell and the Smart Bitches ladies again (Amanda, Elyse, Carrie, and Redheaded Girl) Thanks for a fun dinner, a great panel, and an amazing blogger symposium. Thank you also to my fabulous panelists on the crossover writing panel (Megan Erickson, Megan Mulry, Amy Jo Cousins, Roni Loren, and Karen Stivali) for asking me to moderate and for all your insightful comments. I went to lots of wonderful sessions this week and once again some interesting and really fun panels.

This year it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces from our GBLT romance community. I feel like I barely got to see so many folks bc it was such a big event (and boy were those hallways long) but it was wonderful to spend time with so many friends and to meet folks I had only talked to online (in particular reader Rod Batterman who so kindly introduced himself and took a picture with me!).

Also lots of love to my dinner crew who made my evenings so much fun. I had many wonderful meals with Rick R. Reed, Lane Hayes, Kate McMurray, Jules Lovestoread, Devon Rhodes, Keira Andrews (among many others) and thanks especially to Susan Lee, our fearless leader, without whom we would all be eating every meal at the Rio, or probably still wandering the bowels of Caesars looking for the Uber stand.

And biggest thanks to Keira Andrews for being such a fabulous roommate (well aside from the puking). We never met in person before this week and I couldn’t have asked for a more fun or easy going roommate. We laughed late into the night!

So like I said, every year is different and equally wonderful and each experience is filled with so many great friends. I am sorry I can’t list everyone here but big hugs to you all! Love and miss you all already!


Giveaway

Ok, so I came home with goodies! I will pass along some treats to one lucky U.S. winner! (For international folks, I can’t send the paperback books or swag, but if I pick an international winner, I will send you all the ebook codes and send the paper books/swag to a second place U.S. winner). Here is what is included:

  • Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton (paperback)
  • Overdrive by Ariel Tachna (paperback)
  • Free backlist book from Heidi Cullinan (ebook code)
  • Gabriel’s City by Layla Hunter (ebook code)
  • Trowchester Blues by Alex Beecroft (ebook code)
  • THIRDS trading cards from Charlie Cochet
  • Bookmarks from Charlie Cochet and Eli Easton
  • Selfie swag by Amy Lane

Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, April 27th  at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, News and Notes
TAGGED:
%d bloggers like this: