Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Atlanta Highlights 3: Let's Talk

It’s not all Greek to me…not since I've met these two - every time I talk to them I walk away having learned or understood something. Tori Carrington is comprised of husband and wife team Tony & Lori Karayianni, and two finer people can’t be found. These two are personable, funny, warm, sexy, & delightfully REAL, just like their books. I had the good fortune to speak with them in person in Atlanta for a few minutes. After the initial hugs & hellos, I had to ask: Why veer from the romances to the Sophie books, and Lori’s response was so that they could keep in touch with their family better. He’s Greek, and she’s a lot like me, white woman who loves her ethnicities (especially her husband). Plus, it’s just a good business plan not to put all one's books in one basket.

First time I ‘met’ them was at an eHarlequin chat about 2 years ago. They’d just sold their first Sophie book and had purchased the van and were about to embark on traveling their ‘neck of the woods’, as we say here. They’ve written several books for Blaze, but they’ve also branched into a chick-lit style series for Forge/Tor featuring heroine Sophie Metropolis, and I wound up with two hardback books (color my flat azz happy), the 1st, named for the character and the 2nd, Dirty Laundry. If you have the time, check out the website named for Sophie, You’ll find their travel blog, recipes, excerpts, and plenty to entertain you.

Have to blog about the Plot Monkeys, especially Leslie, if I may. They are all marvelous writers, and they have a blog that is a must-read for me. One of Leslie’s posts had me in tears from laughing so hard. I can’t link you directly, but go to this page and down to the July 10th post called Another Bad Day For Leslie. If you aren’t laughing long before the end, you’ve fallen prey to something awful. Anyway, the Plot Monkeys had a terrific bookmark in the Goody Room and they were signing books in Atlanta when they weren’t holed up in their connecting rooms plotting and planning their next adventures. I wanted to meet Carly Phillips and snag a copy of Cross My Heart but didn’t manage to make it to the signing. Rats. I enter like every contest she has and never even come CLOSE to winning anything – I love her books.

I DID, however, receive a wonderful present from Alex - the tee-shirt at left, advertising my first mainstream with Samhain, Leaving Mama. Color me happy on that one - it's pretty, it's bright, and it's mine, all mine.

As for ‘goody room’ goodies, for the writers who didn’t make it to Atlanta…there were fewer bookmarks than I’ve ever seen at one of these. There were maybe 4 book thongs, including mine & Alex’s – one of those (can't remember who had them) was a nice, braided thread and one was a cotton cord (ours were a fishing line type substance – can’t think of the term, but Alex will know and maybe post). Several people had candy or chocolate of some sort stapled to their bookmarks. Publicist Nancy Berland, who always has unusual and attractive magnets, had big, hard plastic, colorful blue stars with her logo (magnets). Bettina Krahn gave away fold-up hairbrushes, great for traveling. Then there were a few pamphlets of excerpts, a deck of cards, and the occasional pen or magnet, but few of those and even fewer keychains. [The Passionate Ink luncheon sported little goody bags for everyone, though, and we each got a print copy of at least one book and at least one or two copies of excerpts or books on CD, which I thought was a pretty kewl idea.]

Must mention that I met the fabulous editor-in-chief of Samhain, CRISSY!!! She's a doll. Savvy, cute, brilliant...not enough good words to describe this woman. I never did make it to her room for the banana mudslides she offered...just ran out of time, but it would have been nice.

Also had a few conversations with publicst & promotions queen Carla Arpin of TOOT Books - no telling how often we bugged her. Since she couldn't make it to Atlanta to meet with us, Alex and I phoned her 'a time or two' and had her phone us. Then when Linnea Sinclair won her Rita, the phone lines were really burnin' up! CONGRATULATIONS, LINNEA!!!!!!

Then there are others. Some people have no manners. I wasn't going to say anything about the rude behavior of some women at the publisher's signings, where authors sit until they have cramped fingers, autographing books for free, but...there was one cow there who trampled anyone in her way as she played snatch & grab for books. She plowed into Alex, who had 2 cracked ribs, and said move it...and when Alex couldn't because she was wedged between others, this woman literally placed her fists against Alex's ribs and moved her aside. The same woman nearly knocked Dee down, and Dee was on a walker! Whoever this heifer is, I hope the free books were worth whatever karmic price her soul paid for her inconsiderate behavior. I mean that is just wrong on so many levels. Maybe we should have a workshop or two on ETIQUETTE?

Back to the good stuff. I must brag about the
Passionate Ink group on today’s blog. Passionate Ink began when the erotic romance writers who belonged to RWA felt that they needed their own special chapter. Sylvia Day sent out a call, and within a matter of days, not weeks, the organization was well over 200 members, and it has practically doubled in size and is still growing. Last year we formed – this year the group set the benchmark for support, friendship, sharing of knowledge, and professionalism.

Our luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium’s
Oceans Ballroom was literally the highlight of my attendance experience. The Passionate Plume awards were given (congratulations to all the winners, while I'm at it - and a special shout-out to fellow critique partner Summer Devon), along with other acknowledgements; speakers included a fabulous reviewer whose name escapes me - but stick around and I'll post it as soon as the brain fart ends, agent Roberta Brown, and editor in chief of Ellora’s Cave, Raelene Gorlinksy. [Here is another link to help acquaint you with Raelene, for those who didn’t know this side of her.] There were MANY gift baskets raffled off - several that we were all drooling over. Oh, and PI now has its own distinctive mixed drink called Banana Passion that was also drool-worthy. Great taste.

Before our first speaker was done with her talk, every male waiter serving us was filled with the realization that women DO indeed love men, and we love writing about them, characterizing them, talking about their minds and bodies, and leaving nothing unexplored. Waiters were turning beet red at first, after the word ‘cock’ was first uttered, and then pink with pleasure – it was obvious that the frank language and nature of our business was a turn-on and a pleasant shock to their system. Women actually love us? And they write about us so frankly? Wow.

As an aside, I heard that since the wait staff at the luncheon weren't allowed to accept gratuities, one gentlemen did say in lieu of the tip he was offered that he'd really appreciate it if he could just take one of our books (books in the goody bags, remember) to his sister, who loved erotic romance. Uh, he got a gift bag that was left over. I thought that was kewl.

The Wolfgang Puck-orchestrated meal? When's the last time you saw a crowd of women taking photos of their food? From baby spinach salad to a divine stuffed (hell, I can't even REMEMBER now if it was chicken or pork, it was so good) entree to a delicate chocolate dessert, the lenses were whooshing. Each plate was pure art.

I know that it’s not wise to burn bridges, so I won’t elaborate, but I will say this – the Passionate Inkers are by far the best group within RWA to which I’ve belonged.

I won a tee-shirt from Amie Stewart not long before I left for Atlanta, before I forget, and let me tell you, I almost got mauled by a couple of erotic romance authors at the Spice signing when I wore it - lol.

I was fortunate enough to be seated next to the lovely
Kendra Clark (who later rode from the PI luncheon back to the hotel in the taxi with me and Alex). Our seats during the soiree faced the magnificent aquarium, where the great white Beluga whales swam and played. That alone was worth the price of admission. [And Kelly, bless her heart, bought me a stuffed animal...cutest white Beluga whale, and I cuddled "Belle" in Atlanta once the lights were out.]

My EC editor NICK CONRAD was up for agent of the year with the PASIC awards - whoo-hoo, Nick! Quite an honor even to be nominated. Oh, and Raelene, editor-in-chief was at the conference, of course, looking smashing, as always. That woman can own a hat, and I mean own it.

For those of you wondering about lines, who is buying what, etc...I saw a LOT of interest in YA - there were at least 2 workshops on it by PC Cast (her daughter hosted one with her) plus another one I didn't hear anything about, but...I heard Cast's was really good. There were few sweet romances, meaning contemporary category, represented in the workshops as well as in the free books from publishers. There were quiet a few historicals, despite the 'word' that historicals are 'dying' (no, they're not - they're just slumbering a bit). Chick lit was so-so, not too much, not as much as I've seen in the past. Kick-ass heroines were doing great, not in the Bombshell way...but within the detective, PI, romantic-suspense, and sheer mystery ways. The strong suits playing this year seemed to be (IMO) romantic suspense, erotic romance, and mainstream, with quite a lot of paranormal and fantasy.

I rode in the same Metro Link bus back to the airport with Sylvia Day, who is as charming as she is intelligent. She told me that Renee Luke was to be commended on pulling together that PI luncheon we experienced, so kudos to Renee! That was the best author luncheon I’ve ever attended. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

I have a chat at Joyfully Reviewed with other Samhain authors in...oh...less than 4 hours? Haven't been to sleep yet, so I'd better catch some shut eye. Here’s the link to attend if you're interested - lots of excerpts and prizes, not to mention chatting with some terrific authors.

More tomorrow…



At 10:02 AM, Blogger Rinda Elliott said...

Whoa!!! Sounds like you had a most excellent time. I'm so glad! Thanks for sharing all the info.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Sam said...

WOW - it sounds wonderful!!! I will have to set aside about an hour to get through all the links on your post - and I can't wait! Thanks so much!

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh...shucks, Lyn!

It was great meeting you as well. :)

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Dennie McDonald said...

I saw that shirt and I remember thinking - my friend has shirts like that - DOH! I didn't know Amie gave them out otherwise I'd have said HI!

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

I still have no net at home. Dennie you crack me up and thanks for the heads up.

No you did NOT almost get mauled?!!? LOL I love it! I just gave another one away on the Aphro Fans loop. I really need to order myself one--maybe for my birthdya. Maybe next year I should have a batch up made to sell at the bazarre (sp?)

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

LOL, Dennie - I won that shirt during a post-a-thon at Sasha's, I think. I've slept since then. But I was so tickled to win it!

And, Cece, I was in a line at the Spice signing, and Kayla Perrin looked up then just cracked up and said I WANT THAT SHIRT! Told her I wasn't parting with it, even if she had another for me to climb into. Then others in line started asking me about it. I *almost* took it to the Passionate Ink soiree but wasn't sure if I'd get it back - lol. Wanted to have the smut authors sign it, then thought no...I want to keep it just like it is. SO...I had fun with that shirt. Gave your name/store info out each time I was asked about it.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Anything to be of service to my fellow smuttees ;-)

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Cara North said...

This was an awesome and very detailed post! I missed the convention this year but I will be there next year for sure!


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