Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Survived RomantiCon!

So I'm back from Ellora's Cave's RomantiCon! I survived--exhausted--but survived! And had an absolute blast! Actually, I got back on Monday but I needed time to recuperate!

Things started out a bit rocky. The drive to the airport in Little Rock was harrowing because of torrential rains. Then both my flights were delayed. When I arrived at DFW (Dallas/Ft Worth), I had twenty minutes to catch my next flight to Cleveland. That meant a run from gate B9 to B25. I have to admit I'm not up to a run of any kind. I was already winded from the long uphill walk on the ramp from the plane. I don't breathe well since the pneumonia last year. Fortunately, one of the airport's cart came by and flagged him down. I caught my breath while riding to the gate. Not being able to breathe is a scary feeling!

I met my friend Betty Hanawa at the gate for the Cleveland flight. Her daughter Amanda's flight into DFW had been canceled so she wouldn't make it until much later. Of course, after my breath defying run the flight to Cleveland was delayed. *headdesk* But we finally made it to Cleveland airport. But my luggage didn't. *cackle*

Because of the delayed flights, we missed all the workshops on Friday but the Psychedelic Soiree made up for everything. Except I couldn't dress the part because my luggage still hadn't made it. *pouts* But I got over it quickly! A crazed stalking fangurl (j/k), George, found me at the party. I follow her on Twitter--that makes me sound like the stalker, huh... We headed to the bar after the party to chat. By the time we finished gabbing, midnight had struck and my luggage showed up! George turned out to be lucky! And wonderful to talk to!

Everyone was wonderful to talk to! RomantiCon was so much fun and, unlike other events I've attended, much less hectic and harried. Only two tracks of workshops so I didn't have to choose between a bunch of different tracks. Dinner and breakfast buffets were provided by Ellora's Cave so no scrambling for food between events. Lunch on Saturday was a little screwy since the hotel restaurant was understaffed. I missed a workshop after lunch because it took too long. EC announced that next year, they'd see about some kind of buffet for lunch as well. They left time between the day sessions and the evening events so I could rest or just sit and chat with people. Oh, and the bar had Killian's Red on tap. And for whatever reason, the alcohol didn't give me hot flashes! Woo hoo! Might be the new hormones!

Saturday also had Author Mania sessions. Authors gathered in the ball room in three different sessions in the morning and the afternoon, giving readers a chance to come around to meet and chat with their favs. They could also bring their own books for the authors to sign. At the two different sessions, I sat with different authors. And had a blast chatting with them.

Ellora's Cave also printed a keepsake book with autograph pages listed for the authors and the cover models. I used a blank page for readers autographs. Readers were the true stars of this convention. Writers can write all they want but without readers, we're nothing!

Another highlight of the conference was the book fair on Sunday. I got to meet a blogger who made my day on Mother's Day this year. She posted a blog about how her mother was a huge fan of mine and loved my books. Plus, I got to meet her mother! I was thrilled! And speaking of the book fair, I was signing my two new books in print, PAST LIES and NAUGHTIEST NUPTIALS (includes GAPS IN YOUR SOUL).

On the convention Yahoo loop, Ellora's Cave already announced next year's convention. It'll be at the same hotel October 8-10, 2010. Like this year, there'll be early bird stuff for those who arrive on Thursday, Oct 7. I plan to arrive on Wednesday. Maybe then I'll have my luggage and all in time. *cackle*

The flights home were all on time. It wouldn't have mattered if they weren't. I sat next to the amazing Samantha Kane at the book fair. Her newest book in print, TOMORROW, tempted me too much! TOMORROW is part of the scifi Hunter For Hire series at Ellora's Cave. We all know Sam writes amazing m/m/f menages in her Regency series, Brothers in Arms. Well, guess what? TOMORROW is like Brothers In Arms In Space! It hit all my scifi buttons! I finished it as the plane landed in Little Rock!

And when I got home, I emailed the series coordinator for a copy of the Hunter For Hire bible. I have an idea that would work for the world they've created. But first, I have to play catch up on the stories already in progress.

I'm off to another conference next week, this time in New Jersey. I need to get my butt in gear and accomplish some kind of writing before then!


Nina Pierce said...

Shayla - it was an amazing weekend wasn't it? I was so happy to meet you. I met so many people. I'm trying to go through my pics and label everyone! You did an awesome job recapping. I can't wait until next year.

Allie Standifer said...

I am so jealous, but I'll be there next year to harass and annoy you in person. Sounds like you had a blast! Good luck in Jersey.

Anny Cook said...

It was so great to meet you Shayla! I'm already looking forward to next year!

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm looking forward to next year, too, Shayla! I was soooo damn wonderful meeting you and hanging out!

Shelley Munro said...

It sounds as if you had a wonderful time, despite the delayed flights and missing luggage. :)

Shayla Kersten said...

@Nina - It was so great finally meeting you after knowing each other online for nearly three years.

@Allie - You need to get your butt up there next year, princess! Wouldn't it be great if most of the Roses could make next year's con!

@Anny - I had so much fun hanging out with you! Seems we kept meeting up in the bar! LOL I can't wait for next year!

@Regina - Everything about the con was fun but hanging with you and Anny was a real blast! Counting down to next year!

@Shelley - I wish you could have been there! Our anthology, Naughtiest Nuptials sold really well. I think I only had one book left by the end of the signing!

Lacey Savage said...

I'm so sad I missed it! I'd rather have been there with you than at the wedding I ended up having to go to. Next year, I'll be there for sure. I'm glad you had such a great time... but where are all the photos?

Shayla Kersten said...

@Lacey - YES! You must be there next year! I would love to finally meet you! And I forgot my camera. LOL I know. Bad me. But there are pictures popping up all over the web. Just Google!

Myla Jackson said...

Sounds like a fabo time! Looking forward to NJ next week. Hope you're up to it! Get an oxygen tank, you'll need it to keep up with me!

Adele Dubois said...


It was great to meet you at RomantiCon. We def need to hang out more next year. I enjoyed your company.


Anonymous said...

Hey Shayla!

(It's your friendly fangirl stalker!)

You can run! But you can't hide!

Great recap! I've been a little behind in this this week as well - call it the afterglow of said RomantiCon!

--If you have never met Shayla in person, she's even more wonderful than her computer persona! Always with a smile (even when weary), she has wit that brings out the British in me! A total sweetheart, and beautiful on the inside as well as the out!

(okay - I'm done smoozing!)

May I suggest to anyone reading - whether you are an author, reader or inspiring writer (as myself), make EVERY effort to attend next years convention! It is worth the money and the time!

The workshops are awesome, the employees of EC were incredibly nice (and very concerned about readers opinions) - and the authors! Even if you aren't familar with their work (as I only read m/m - so I hardly knew anyone else) - these authors were so genuine, so warm and friendly! They encouraged me in my craft and were very open to questions.

My head is so filled with ideas and new found knowledge, that it's gonna take me a few weeks to clear up! Not that I'm complaining...

Love ya Shayla! You rock!

George Allwynn

Diane M. said...

It was so great to meet you Shayla. I'm definitely going next year and maybe next time my luggage will get there since Delta lost it in the Atlanta airport.


Samantha Kane said...

Shayla ~ I'm amazing, huh? ;-) I had so much fun sitting next to you at the book signing. We talked so much I almost missed a couple of people waiting for a book. lol I'm so glad you enjoyed Tomorrow!! That makes my day. And we would love, love, love to have you join the Hunters for Hire series. I have Naughtiest Nuptials sitting here tempting me! I've been swamped with promo for my new release that came out today, Play It Again, Sam. It's about a group of friends who met at RomantiCon! Sound familiar? lol I can't wait to sit next to you again next year.

Judy said...

Sounds like a great time even with the flight delays and (grrrrrrr) luggage problems! I just got back from my very first writers' conference and felt it was worth every penny and all the acrobatic driving on Hwy 23 to Eureka Springs--definitely won't drive that way next year! There's nothing like meeting, sharing with, and learning from other authors!