Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Rockin' at RT in Pittsburgh
by Donna MacMeans
I’ve just returned from Pittsburgh, PA – the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Steelers, and the 2008 Romantic Times (RT) Convention. This was my first time attending RT (Yes, I was an RT virgin) but I wanted to share the experience with you.
The RT convention is primarily for romance readers, so it's fun, fun, fun. I'm talking lots of free books, fun romantic fantasy events, and opportunities for readers to meet and interact with writers.
I started out my first day with a trip to the goody room, where attendees were invited to select an armload of books from the tables stacked high with favored romance titles. The lines to get to the goody room were long, but check out the stacks of books to the right.
Of course, this was not the only opportunity for free books. Every workshop and party gave away books as door prizes. There was no lack of reading material at the convention. Here's a photo of one of the workshops I attended on the future of paranormals. From left to right, that’s Monique Patterson, senior editor at St. Martin’s Press, Jessica Andersen, J.R. Ward, Kim Harrison, Angela Knight, and Cheyenne McCray.
Throughout the conference hunky men mingled with the attendees soliciting a vote for Mr. Romance. My pictures of the winner didn’t turn out (must have been all the heavy breathing that fogged the lens) but fortunately Linnea Sinclair had more success. This picture of Mark Fish, the Mr. Romance chosen by the attendees, comes from her site, http://www.linneasinclair.com/.
I certainly wasn't the only bandita present. Trish, KJ, Christie and I did manage to get together for a bite to eat.
Every night ended with dancing and I was so there, especially when the live band, The Impalers, played. Generally, the dancing was preceded with a ball. The costumes at these events were absolutely amazing, especially the Faery Under the Sea Ball & Costume Competition. I've never seen so many ornate wings attached to adult women. Some flapped with tiny motors. Some lit up with twinkling lights. Here’s one of the costumes. Can you see her black and lavendar wings? Virgin that I was, I did not arrive with a costume. At best, I could be described as looking like seaweed - but it fit the theme.
I did get into the spirit of the Vampire Ball and decided to do some vamping of my own. I have a Victorian riding hat that I wear at book signings and a pink corset compliments of my husband. (It was a birthday gift to celebrate THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY). I suspect I'm going to regret this - but I decided to give the tightly laced corset a try. Dear Heavens, I was hot! Check out the girls. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to wear a black jacket so I could slip away from the crowded ballroom without a threatened wardrobe malfunction (gravity is not my friend).
I believe I heard that 1600 readers & writers gathered for the event. They certainly all gathered for the big Saturday booksigning. The ballroom was packed. I sat next to the talented Sally MacKenzie, and across from fellow bandita, Christie Kelley. Terrio stopped by to visit (Hi Terrio), as well as lots of readers, booksellers, reviewers and librarians.
For the historical readers among us, I'd like to add that I shot the top photo of Pittsburgh from the top of Mt. Washington, also known as Coal Hill. I took the incline up to an overlook. That's a picture of the Monongahela incline on the left.
The hotel was located close to the site of the original Fort Pitt built by Great Britain to discourage the French from claiming the land. This shot on the right is all that is left of the huge fort - a blockhouse. Amazing how quickly time can alter the past.
I left on Sunday, the tailpipe of my car dragging on the pavement from the books stashed in the back. I had a great time. Next year the RT convention is to be held in Orlando, Fl.
How about you? Have you attended RT in the past? Will you go next year? What’s your favorite event? Any stories to share? Costume ideas? If you’ve never attended RT, who would you like to meet if you did? I’ll send one of the books received at RT along with a signed coverflat for THE TROUBLE WITH MOONLIGHT to someone posting a comment.