Sunday, April 24, 2016

Stackin' the Shelves #30 - #RT16 Recap!

Hello Bambinas!
I made it home from Vegas (mostly) unscathed. I am freakin' exhausted though!  I slept until 10:30 this morning, and have been dragging myself (barely) to work at the last possible minute all week. The RT Convention, if you have never been, is very peopley. So you have to be *on* all the time. And there are lines. Lots and lots of lines. Your feet and back will hate you. But I met some fun people, bloggers that I have been interacting with on social media, and lots of my favorite authors and some new-to-me authors as well.

This episode of Stackin' the Shelves is gonna be somewhat long, because I got SOOOOO many pretties from the RT Convention - and I want to do a convention recap so I can go back and reference it next year. Let's start with the pretties, shall we?  Check it - this is just some of the stuff I brought back that I was either given or purchased. This does not include the suitcase full of books I took to get signed.

Oh and let me just apologize now for the quality of my photos. There is just SO much stuff that there is not a good place to photograph it... and I am out of bookshelves!  So I have everything thrown on my guest bed until I can go out and get another shelf (or three).

So let's break it down a little bit.  These are all the ARCs I got for review.  The publishers at the event were absolutely wonderful and a delight to meet. I think the publishing contacts I got were the most useful part of the convention.

I just have to show you this super cool ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca... they did a fabulous job on the packaging.  And its fantasy romance! Yay!

Now on to everything else. I've been reading more Y/A lately, particularly Y/A Fantasy, so I grabbed a handful of those during the Avon event and at the Book Fair. I met this super fun author, Rachel E. Carter, who writes Y/A Fantasy, and is being compared to Sarah J. Maas and others like her.  I can't wait to read her book, First Year

Rachel E. Carter & Jen/Bambi.
Check out her awesome book print dress!
Of course I had to get my historical on. I met so many wonderful historical authors. I got to fangirl over Sabrina Jeffries, Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Lorraine Heath, Eva Leigh, Tessa Dare, Elizabeth Boyle, Heather Graham, Kathryn Le Veque and Amy Jarecki.

Clockwise from Top:
Kerrigan Byrne, Sabrina Jeffries
Amy Jarecki, Tessa Dare
As you can imagine, there were lots of contemporary romance authors in attendance.  I was so excited to meet Kristen Ashley, my abso-favorite author of all time. She was so classy and rock chick all the way, and I am excited to have made it on to her blogger team for some upcoming releases this year.  Other authors I got to fangirl over in this category were Shayla Black, Lexi Blake, Sylvia Day, Susan Mallery, Robyn Carr, Jennifer Probst, Laura Kaye, J. Kenner, Christopher Rice, and many others.

Clockwise from the top:
Kristen Ashley, Sylvia Day, Terry Anne Stanley
Jaci Burton, Anne Jolin, Christina Lauren
I'm getting tired of taking pictures, can you tell?  So this is kind of everything else but mainly fantasy romance, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and dystopian. I ran into Nalini Singh and C.L. Wilson everywhere and they were both so freaking nice. Christine Feehan, Heather Graham and Lora Leigh were also great. And Jeffe Kennedy was so cute in her big floppy hats! 

Nalini Singh (top) and C.L. Wilson (bottom)
Before I go, I want to talk about this group of ladies that I met who were so freaking nice and became my buddies for the week.  This is a group of authors known as the Kickass Chicks.  Yep, you read that right.  And they really are kickass.  Tuesday night, we all went to dinner at Gordon Ramsay's Pub. They were so nice to include me in their group, and everytime I saw them during the week, they made sure to stop and say hi.  So if you have a minute, go check out Juliette Cross, Sarah Hegger, Gemma Brocato, Rhenna Morgan, A.S. Fenichel, Sabine Priestley and Xio Axelrod

So because this was my first RT Convention, I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS!  But there were SO many.  I made a nice color-coded agenda, you may remember.  But here was my plan:

I quickly learned that this plan would not work at all.  The lines were no joke y'all.  You simply could not go to an event every hour.  You could go to the first event, then you had to skip the next one so you could get in line for at least an hour for the following event.  

These were my favorite events:  Avon Reader Party, Kensington's Chapel of Love, Vintage Vegas Romance Casino, Viva La Historical, Race Thru the Shadows with Christine Feehan, A Night w/ the Bat Pack, Wheel of Romance, Authors Down Under, Shayla & Lexi Present the Perfect Party, the Supernatural Dragon Den of Magical Mayhem, and Entangled's Candy and Spoons.

These events had a great author presence... but the rooms they were held in were way too small and it turned into a hot sweaty mess with everyone fighting to get to see the authors:  Rising Storm Scavenger Hunt, Tattoos & Tinis, 1001 Dark Nights Sparkler, A Night with the Bad Boys, Contemporary Romance Booze & Books, 

I thought the Pop-Up Signings were a nice addition.  I missed some of the ones I really wanted to go to, but I did manage to get in line for Sylvia Day, Eloisa James and Julia Quinn.

For the most part, everyone I met was very nice and we loved talking about books.  It is important to make some friends because you will want someone to hold your spot in line if you need to step out to potty or grab food. There were some less-than-nice people in attendance.  Those that got mad if you saved a spot in line, or the book-hungry ones who were grabbing multiple copies of the same book for their hoard. But the nice folks outweighed the undesirables I think.

Probably the smartest thing that I did was hit a grocery store when I got there because there simply was not time to go back to your room between events.  Also, I ended up using my roller cart all week b/c my shoulder was hurting the first day from carrying around tote bags full of books.  So I definitely recommend bringing a roller cart. It would be nice if you can find one that will bear your weight so you could sit on it, that way you could give your feet a rest without sitting on the floor.

Super comfy shoes are a must because of all the lines. I was wearing converse and tennis shoes most days, and my feet still hurt. At night I would switch into my heels just so I could have a break from being flat-footed.  

So by convention's end, I had amassed way more books and stuff than I could fit in my bags to take home. I ended up shipping a 62lb box via UPS, and I shoved the rest in my bags.  One of my bags ended up being overweight so I had to pay the fee.  Then TSA pulled me out of line to search my carryon full of books... and believe me, they went through every book. But now I am home and everything has arrived safe and sound, so I am happy, and still trying to recover my sleep and energy!

Overall RT did a great job with the event. Most of the hiccups I saw were due to mistakes on the convention center's part, not any of the RT people.  I think next year I will go to more panels than reader parties, keep it a little more low key with fewer lines. Are you planning to go to the convention next year in Atlanta?  I will be there - and I will be driving this time.  

Happy Reading!