Sunday, July 3, 2011

My RWA Literacy Book Signing Extravaganza in New Yawk City

What can I say?  It was a night of a thousand stars - a night of a thousand romance writing stars.

Last Tuesday I attended the Romance Writers of America Literacy Book Signing, which is an event to raise charity that the RWA puts on every year during their national convention - known as the Nationals.  This year it was only fifteen miles away in New York City!  Finally, at last my favorite authors are coming to me!  My first time at a book signing event, I was excited and nervous - OMG!  I'm actually going to be meeting some of these amazingly talented women who I am in awe of!

To make it even more wonderful, my good friend, Joanne from Books, Belles and Beaux was coming up to New York for a week too!   You can read all about Joanne's NY experience here.  We had a blast.  With a room booked at the Marriott Marquis for the night, where the entire conference was taking place, I arrived shortly before 4 pm.  The Literacy Signing began at 5:30, so there was plenty of time to spare.   Joanne, who was staying there too, met me at the elevators check in.  With a quick sprucing up in my room to wash off the dust from my travels across the Hudson on the DeCamp bus, we had some much needed catching up with each other.  Last time we met was at last year's Poisoned Pen Conference in Arizona when we both met Diana Gabaldon and Lauren Willig.  It was great to catch up, but the big moment was approaching.  Next on the agenda? The Atrium Bar - where else?

Downstairs at the bar it was packed with zillions of authors, fans, agents, publishers, you name it.  It was a who's who in the romance world!  I couldn't believe my eyes - I was totally star struck!  Walking around, my eyes were probably bugging out.  I recognized authors, but didn't have the nerve to go up to them and interrupt their conversations.  Joanne spotted Lauren Willig and I made an exception.  We went over to her, Joanne sporting her Lauren Willig tote bag over her shoulder.  Lauren looked up and recognized us from last year! LOL!  We said hi, and who is she sitting with?  Sarah MacLean!  I'm a big fan, I told her so and enjoyed talking to both of them.  Later on, Joanne gave Lauren this pretty good luck bracelet that she made.  It was phenomenal and had a few tiny little covers from Lauren's books on it, including The Mischief of the Mistletoe which won a RITA this year - way to go, Lauren! Big Congrats!  Here's a picture I took of Lauren with Joanne and her bracelet. (Sorry Joanne, once again I had no camera and we used yours for all the pics!)

Pretty soon it was time to go upstairs to the signing.  There were huge lines outside of people waiting to get in, but since we were staying at the hotel, we didn't have to wait outside in the hot New York City heat.  We got in line, waited for a bit and entered the Broadway Ballroom. Oh my, this was huge!  It looked like hundreds of tables set up, each one with an author in alphabetical order, we entered at the end of the alphabet, so we saw Lauren Willig easily.  Big names like Diana Gabaldon and Julia Quinn were at the end of the ballroom to accommodate lines, which were already growing fast.  Having seen Diana twice before, I headed elsewhere first and would make it back to her when there was no line.

First stop was to go over and say hi to Robin Kaye, my old pal from her pre-publishing days.  Robin was sitting next to Susanna Kearsley who Joanne was eager to see, so we made a bee line for the "K" section.  We had a great time talking with both of them.  I told Susanna about my upcoming trip to the Highlands and how I wished I could get to see Slains Castle from The Winter Sea, but it's so far out of the way, but we'll see. 

Joanne and Susanna Kearsley

I bought Robin's latest book, which I haven't read and solidified plans for getting together after the signing at The View, the revolving roof top bar/restaurant at the top of the hotel.  Here's a shot of Robin, believe me, she is an amazing woman!  She does so much and she's an amazing storyteller!  Robin I am in awe of you! I had such a good time that night seeing you again and meeting your friends!

Robin and me - can you tell I'm happy??

I was in heaven, believe me!  It was a bit overwhelming to be honest.  Everywhere I'd turn there was another author I knew and loved!  I saw many and got to chat with quite a few, all were so nice and friendly!!  I felt like every author I went up to, I'd hold out my hand to shake theirs and say "I am such a big fan - it is such a pleasure to meet you!"  Among a few I met and enjoyed talking with?  Colleen Gleason!  She is so nice - and pretty! Plus I love her Gardella Vampire Chronicles (as many of you know who follow my blog).  We had a really good chat, and of course, I told her how much I loved her series!  No other historical vampire series has come close to hers (I told her so, too!)

Another author I was dying to meet was Julie James - I simply love her contemporaries - and she has a golden retriever too!  Had a chance to chat about our dogs, but I was otherwise tongue tied!  Still, Joanne got a picture of us together!

There were zillions (it seems) of other authors I got to meet:  Karen Hawkins, Elizabeth Hoyt, Susan Donovan and Celeste Bradley (I went on and on about A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man and how much I loved it).  I bought another copy for myself since I just gave away my other copy in my 100 Followers Giveaway.  Susan was a new to me author so she gave me recommendations of some of her older books to read as well. Very nice, both of them.  I also met Anne Gracie, who came all the way from Australia, Julia Quinn, (showing off some very sexy cleavage and looking great, I might add). I bought The Duke and I and had it signed by her, the only one left of her Bridgerton Series.  I chatted a bit with Diana Gabaldon, no lines by the time I went over to her.  We talked about the shape of her upcoming Lord John book and she drew me a diagram. :)  She must think I'm such a ding-a-ling, I am so goofy and star struck around her!

I also got a chance to meet Deanna Raybourn (didn't buy her latest, since I have it on kindle already), but she is stunningly beautiful in person!  Got a nice picture of Deanna and Joanne.

It was a real crush in the middle of the signing, but that didn't deter me - so many authors - so little time...

I walked past Sabrina Jeffries "Oh my God, there's Sabrina Jeffries!" I blurt out.  I recognized her immediately, primarily because she was in blue, and I always think of her in blue!  (I think she must wear that color a lot in her photos).  I had to stop and talk to her and buy a book!  Here's a funny shot of me talking with her (and no, I am not sticking out my tongue at her!) :D

Other authors I got see and talk to: Sherry Thomas, another of my absolute favorites, Janet Chapman, a big favorite, she came down from Maine, Molly Harper, a new to me author, one of the Lydia Dare team (not sure which), but another new to me author and I bought her book.   Tons of familiar names I didn't get a chance to see and a few authors I wished I'd seen but it was so hectic!  I wish I had gotten a chance to meet Laura Lee Guhrke and Carolyn Jewel!  Darn!  Well, there's always next time or Iselin, NJ in October!

So, I scooped up my books, bags, goodies and bookmarks, paid up at the register and met Joanne outside the ballroom.  We went up to the bar on the roof, and while I slurped down several mojitos, Robin and her two critique partners joined us and we had a great time, talking, talking, talking while looking at the gorgeous, revolving NY skyline and sunset.  Some time, very late, we went across the street, got burgers and by 1:30 am, I was back in my hotel room, ready for bed.

Next morning, I lounged around until check out, reading in bed and savoring all the delights of the night before.  Then it was back to Port Authority and the bus to NJ.   Real life, once again. All in all, I had a whirlwind two days and it was a blast!  I can't wait to do it again!  This was so much FUN!

Thank you to all of you authors out there who took the time to listen to my silly chatter and gushing!  You all made is so worthwhile and memorable.  I will never forget this experience.  Gosh, do I sound like a groupie or what?


Joanne said...

Loved reading your post and seeing the names of some of the authors I forgot to mention! It was all too much for my little brain to take in and remember! My only regret is that I forgot Julia Quinn on the "list" I had in my head -- so glad you got to chat with her. BTW, Julia Quinn presented Lauren with her RITA!

I told you last year at the Poisoned Pen event that I didn't know how we could top meeting Diana Gabaldon and Lauren Willig --well, I think we topped it at RWA!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

well, I think we topped it at RWA!

I think you're right! *grin*

Yes, I saw that Julia Quinn was the one who presented her with her trophy! Isn't that great?!

Tracey said...

Looks like a lot of fun and so glad you got to see Robin! Lucky you!

I haven't been to your blogspot before or I haven't for a very long time so thanks for the link from Facebook!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Tracey! Welcome! LOL! It was seeing Robin again like old times!

Anne en Renée said...

Awesome, Julie! And lucky you and Robin to see each other again. Gosh, if only... :-)

Great pics too

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Renee, yes it was great to have the whole night out too. Robin is still just the same, hasn't changed a bit. I forgot to mention that Winnie from HG joined us too for drinks!

Robin Kaye said...

Julie - It was so good meeting up with you and Joanne! What a great time and a fabulous way to begin Nationals, though I don't think I ever got my voice back after the signing. It was great to see you, Joanne and Winnie. I hope we can do it again in NJ.

Hugs...Robin :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Robin, I know my voice was so gravelly the whole next day - or as they say in historicals - husky in that sexy romantic way! LOL!

Great seeing you too and I'm definitely going to be at the signing in October in NJ this year - too much fun to pass up!

Patti (Book Addict) said...

What a great recap - it sounds like so much fun! Thanks for sharing and the pics.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Patti, it was a blast! There was so much energy in that ballroom with all those authors and fans, really amazing! So glad I got to meet so many of my favorites all in one place!

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