Sigh – Okay I Have to Say This…

Gracious me – I feel the need to blog about RT a bit because I must say I get so VERY TIRED of hearing people proclaim they’d never go because they’re just too classy or whatever. Like they are speshul snowflakes and everyone who does go is turning tricks in the stairwells or something.

Here’s my thing: I go to RT and I enjoy myself. Do I like everything I see? No. As a matter of fact I do not like it when people take something as horrifying as 9/11 and demean it. I don’t like to see drunk people falling over themselves in the bar either. But frankly – I’ve seen drunk people in bars at many conventions and I’m quite sure stupid stuff happens at dental hygenist conventions too.

I go to RT and I meet up with my writerly friends I see only once a year. We sit in the bar and laugh (and eat pizza and drink lots of water too), we dance at the parties (and this year I only dressed up for one, but you know what I am sick of authors sneering about people who like to dress up. I am sick of hearing “horny housewife” comments. I am sick to fucking death of this “I am too good and/or too special to go to RT” attitude.

Lots of people bitch about RT but you know? They have been really good to me. I’m not just talking about reviews but they’ve been supportive – they’ve put little bits in the magazine about my upcoming books. All my dealings with Giselle for ads have been fabulous and Jo Carol and other conference staff have been good too. Are there mistakes? Yep. Vegas wasn’t at the signing. It sucked. But – THAT IS LIFE. I’ve done enough signings to have experienced books not showing up, books I didn’t order showing up and none I did order showing. That’s how it works. Now, it may not work that way when you’re a big time author but down here many rungs on the ladder, that’s been my experience. I would have preferred Vegas been there, I was disappointed but it’s not the end of the world.

And in truth – You know what? RT isn’t for everyone. There’s not a darned thing wrong with not wanting to go to RT. It’s not RWA National or BEA or NINC or any other writer’s conference. They’re different conferences and you’ll get different things from them. I don’t think National is boring or more classy – I think National is different.

At the book signing on Saturday I met dozens of readers and book sellers and over the course of the conference I met hundreds as well as loads of authors and editors too. I LIKE that. As a conference, RT is like a working vacation for me. I do network. I do meet people and work – yes. But I also dance and I might have a few drinks (although this year the hotel was toxic and I didn’t really drink much). Our reader party was a total blast! We met lots of folks and we’ll be doing another next year too.

I laugh with the cover models (who were TOTAL gentlemen – Fred, Christopher Howell, Chris Winters, Traaavis was there to say hello, Luke – all very nice men who never did one untoward thing in my sight at all). One of the Chippendale dancers sat with us for a while on Wednesday night – Kimo – and he was very nice, answered all sorts of questions from the assembled authors at the table with humor. When I see people talking shite about these men I just want to remind folks that these guys are people. Yes, judged on their looks but when I see people who never met say Christopher Howell, talking negatively about him I want to say, “Hey, you know what? He’s a total sweetie pie, he’s got manners and a sense of humor and he’s pretty to look at. And he has feelings so you know, it’s easy to dehumanize people you see on a screen and all, but they’re real.”

I didn’t see them all. I am sure some of them were idiots – that’s a given that in any group there will be assholes. I do know of one incident where some of them jumped over a low banc of seats and if they’d fallen they could have injured a friend of mine with more than a few pins in her body holding her together. I did see some not so very lovely behavior in the bar toward the end of the con (and by the Saturday night all I want is some popcorn, some dancing and a last night of laughing with my friends – I had that and pretzels too, mmmm – and went to bed by midnight. And yes, the situation with the contestant who had to be arrested and taken to the hospital (and was let back into the conference the next day and wasn’t made to leave) was concerning to me.

I’ll never stay at the Pittsburgh Hilton again. The staff were awesome but the building was not prepared to house us all appropriately and I’m still coughing. Also, 17 dollars for a breakfast buffet? Come on! Good god, for a hotel with so many missing ceiling tiles and dust in the air, we sure did get charged a premium for everything. But again, the staff were totally awesome! From the front desk to the servers and the bartender in the lobby bar – folks were very helpful and I do appreciate that.

RT is NOT a bunch of drunken authors writhing over cover models. Does that happen? Yes. Is it even a sizable minority? No. In my personal experience, RT is fun. A bunch of women (and some men) get together away from home and they talk about books and writing and life for a week and they all schlep back to laundry and making school lunches.

Apparently there were a thousand people at RT this year. A lot of folks. And 900 of us behaved ourselves quite nicely I am sure. I can’t promise I didn’t annoy people with my calls to “bring me my hookah!” but whatever, if that’s the wildest I ever get, well that’s just fine. Most of us realize we’re in public. Most of us have a nice time without cheating on our spouses or groping anyone or even taking pictures of our naughty bits on other peoples’ cameras. It’s pretty unfair to take the behavior of those few who don’t know how to control themselves and paint an entire conference that way.

RT isn’t mandatory. It does tend to be a very high energy, fast paced experience and I am always feckign exhausted by Sunday and so ready to go home. But you know what? I love RT and I’ll be back. I always meet someone new who makes my life better (last year I met Sasha White and Kimberly Kaye Terry and Vivi Anna and I love them all to bits). It’s not for everyone and you know, that’s totally fine.

I’ll see many of you in Orlando next year!

20 comments to “Sigh – Okay I Have to Say This…”

  1. mMm
    April 22nd, 2008 at 11:43 am · Link

    Brrrrring me the gluten-free cover model from the basement so that I might drrrrrink the marrrrrrrow from his bones!

    And yes, Ponyboy is A DELIGHT and Fred and CW and yes, obviously and of course Traaaaaaavis are all very, very nice gentlemen. Even the Chippendales/EC dude who’s an adult film star was SUPER nice, above and beyond nice to me. Polite. And nice.


  2. Vivi Anna
    April 22nd, 2008 at 11:57 am · Link

    Amen chica! I couldn’t agree more.

    I had a great time, surrouned by great friends and readers.

    I saw some shit too, but does it taint me for further conferences…hell no! There are idiots in every village.

    I think it’s a shame that some people’s opinions and their penchant to dwell on the negative will deter authors and readers to come next year. They have no idea what they are missing. It is all what you make it.

  3. Kimberly Kaye Terry
    April 22nd, 2008 at 1:05 pm · Link

    Speak that truth, mami 😉

    I had a marvelous time! For me, the conference was buisness and party. The workshops were off the chain and the parties were a blast. I mingled with my wonderful readers, my editors, and my author pals. I had fun partying with a purpose. Nuff frickin’ said!


  4. Angela James
    April 22nd, 2008 at 1:20 pm · Link

    Brrrrring me the gluten-free cover model from the basement so that I might drrrrrink the marrrrrrrow from his bones!

    Cripes. I heard that in my head. Word for word, complete with accent 🙄

  5. Laura K
    April 22nd, 2008 at 2:11 pm · Link

    I didn’t know ALL this drama happened until Sunday when Kathryn Faulk was talking about the model incident. She was very gracious about it, and was concerned for him. If this type of thing doesn’t float your boat, don’t go. I enjoyed myself and plan to come back but yes, NEVER to that hotel again. I’m still not completely fine- coughing a lot and my balance is still off! The staff was super, super, super.

  6. Gennita Low
    April 22nd, 2008 at 7:08 pm · Link

    Briiiing me alllll the funnnn of meeting AUthors and readerssss while laughing and literally, having a Ballll.

    Gad, Lauren. You’ve infected me. :mrgreen:

  7. Charlene
    April 22nd, 2008 at 8:11 pm · Link

    Actually, the thing that has me thinking, “This is not for me” is the air quality issue. When an asthma episode can be fatal, it ain’t worth the risk. The condition of this hotel brought up many comments about RT traditionally being held in a hotel under renovation…and dude, I can’t breathe paint fumes. Being around perfume is a struggle. So I think I and my home nebulizer machine and steroids will not be traveling to Orlando. 🙁 I’m so glad you had good time, though, and love your pics! Thanks for sharing them.

  8. Sasha
    April 22nd, 2008 at 9:03 pm · Link

    I had a blast. I went to meet up with people and have a good time while I pimp some books, and I did. People need to get over themselves and realize that every person at that conference is an ADULT. They can can behave how they want, as can those who prefer to keep a stick up their ass. 😎

  9. Jaynie R
    April 23rd, 2008 at 4:45 am · Link

    Lauren, it was great to see you again. Loved your reader party – espec since I won a t-shirt with your book cover on it.

    I had an absolute blast at RT. There’s a reason I fly for 25 hours and spend a crap load of money to get there – it’s my one time to catch up on all my peeps in one place. It is what you make it.

    The hotel did suck though, but even that didn’t spoil it for me. It sort of turned into a comedy for us, waiting to see what kind of “badness” would happen with it next. :mrgreen:

  10. mMm
    April 23rd, 2008 at 5:26 am · Link

    I think what it comes down to is — nobody MAKES anyone go to RT. It is what it is. You either like it, or you don’t. And not every person has to like every thing. That’s what makes the world so great. But just because it’s not for *you* doesn’t mean it’s horrifyingly BAD, you know?

    I don’t much care for many things, but I’m all for anyone who does like them being able to enjoy.



  11. Taige Crenshaw
    April 23rd, 2008 at 8:36 am · Link

    *Standing Ovation*

    Very well said. I had a blast at RT and plan to go next year. It was fun meeting you.

  12. Anya Bast
    April 23rd, 2008 at 8:42 am · Link

    The hotel sucked like a big black hole. It made me sick like the freaking dirtiest city in CHINA made me sick. I’m lucky it didn’t affect my asthma.

    That was the first RT I’ve been to in a hotel that was under renovation and I hope it will be my last. It *did* affect my enjoyment of the con, but not enough to make me swear the con off forevah. I’m just hoping for a normal hotel next year.

    As for the rest, of course there are people who sneer and look down their noses. Aren’t there always? I’m really good at ignoring them.

  13. laurendane
    April 23rd, 2008 at 8:00 pm · Link

    Jaynie – I was so happy to look up and see you there. Hope to be able to say that next year in Orlando too!

    Everyone – yes, it is what you make of it and yes, let’s hope the Wyndham is not undergoing rennovations or at the very least, has windows that open!

  14. Jeri Smith-Ready
    April 24th, 2008 at 10:14 am · Link

    I love RT, both the mag and the convention. Yeah, shit happens, but it’s easy to ignore when you’re makin’ awesome new friends like the lovely Lauren Dane (and Anya, and Megan, and Gennita) and seeing old ones like Vivi and Ann (not that they’re old! at all!).

    These huge cons remind me of attending a big university–there are always assholes, but you can find a crowd or two (or nine) that you can relate to and just have a good time.

    To Orlando!

  15. laurendane
    April 24th, 2008 at 10:18 am · Link

    Jeri – it was so wonderful to meet you! And yep, I agree with everything you said and I’ll see you in Orlando next year.

  16. Gennita Low
    April 24th, 2008 at 10:20 am · Link

    We’re all bring us da hookahs! 😈

  17. mMm
    April 24th, 2008 at 10:31 am · Link

  18. mMm
    April 24th, 2008 at 10:32 am · Link

    DANG…didn’t show up.

    Find it… HERE!!!

  19. Kate Pearce
    April 27th, 2008 at 7:56 pm · Link

    Lauren, you were actually one of the people I was hoping to meet at RT-and you were fabulous! I enjoyed it for the experience it was-not RWA certainly, but a chance to relax, meet READERS and other authors-can’t let a few isolated incidents spoil that 🙂

  20. Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen
    April 28th, 2008 at 9:19 am · Link

    Amen. I will buy you a drink of your choice at Orlando because I agree with you completely. I very much enjoyed meeting and hopefully in Orlando we could hang out.


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