Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring Fling 2012: Day Two

Before I begin the epic tale of Day Two, let me have two asides. First, Barbara Vey of Publisher Weekly's Beyond her Book blog fame was at the Spring Fling. I saw her several times and was torn between the urge to inform her that I did a happy dance because she mentioned a Tweet of mine on her blog once and I was all "OMG, she said my name!" and the fact that I mostly learned my lesson about not looming over people and drooling on them from my fan girl insanity at the last SF. Mostly. But there is a photo of me looming in the background.


So much looming. I get that from my dad. The lady in blue was a wonderful librarian I spoke to who suggested that I contact the Berwyn library, something I've been meaning to do for some time now because the Berwyn library was so important in forming my love of books. I believe the woman on the right is her daughter. Mom and daughter librarian teams. How cool is that? It begs to become a Nora Roberts book.

My second aside is for my pink hair. Yes, I have pink hair. Bright, radioactive pink hair. Like a comic book heroine. I've had pink hair for about a month now, and for the most part, I forget that I have pink hair unless I shed. (Each time I find a shed pink hair I always wonder how I came into contact with a My Little Pony before remembering that it's my hair, not pony hair.) I live in a college town, so pink hair usually doesn't even get a second glance. As to why I have pink hair, there are many reasons. But the main reason is because, in the words of the philosopher P!nk, I am a rock star, and my ex-husband is a tool.


Moving on!

So Day Two began at the crack of dawn. I am not a morning person; my day job starts at 1 in the afternoon, so I am used to breakfast around, oh, 10 o'clock. Not 7. BFF Diana and I dragged ourselves down to breakfast because pink wizard needed food badly. Again, I was disappointed by the food at this hotel. Cold pancakes, bland eggs, no bananas. Sad. :( But there was coffee, because I suspect if there had not been coffee things would have devolved into a Walking Dead-style zombie herd.

Our first workshop of the day was the chat with Dianna Love. I was really curious about what she had to say, because she writes with Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I'm such a big Dark-Hunter fan that I have a Dark-Hunter bow tattooed on my left shoulder. Dianna Love has some seriously interesting stories. Dude. It was a great talk, and her tale of how she and Sherrilyn Kenyon began writing together inspired BFF Diana and I to skip the next workshop in favor of a plotting break in the atrium. (We're writing something together now that we're living under the same roof. Be afraid. Very afraid. Sasha Devlin can attest to this, because we assaulted her with our idea at about midnight-ish in the bar when we were slap-happy and somewhat intoxicated.)

Our second workshop was Growing Plot from Character with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and it was marvelous. She had lots of great ideas on how to take a character archetype and layer it to add flavor and coolness (my words, not hers). She also hammered home the idea that character drives plot, and not the other way around. Good stuff.

Next was lunch featuring Dianna Love, where she continued to tell awesome stories and the food continued to suck. Because we were given free books, BFF Diana and I decided to go back up to the room and put them away before the signing (and also so I could grab my meager promo). When we approached the elevators I heard someone call my name, and I turned it was Tiffany Reisz. (Successful stalker squee!) I hugged her, all excited that I finally got to meet her, because I was dying to get a chance to talk to her.

And then the possibly worst thing that could happen happened. Courtney Milan walked up to talk to her. Now, as I explained in the Day One post, my paranoia is convinced that Courtney Milan thinks I'm a big, rude dork thanks to my behavior at the last Spring Fling when I lost my mind at Sarah Wendell.

This was my internal reaction:


Because damn it! I was finally successful in locating Tiffany Reisz and if I didn't walk away I'd look like a big dumb fan girl again. So we left. :( And I didn't get another chance to talk to her before she left.

For my third aside, allow me to explain one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to Tiffany Reisz so badly: somehow I've suddenly become an erotic romance author. This was not ever my intention. Sure there's a few spicy scenes in the Bad Witch books, but there are far more fight scenes than there are sex scenes. But last year, following the heartbreaking rejection of a book I loved, I decided to say "(f-bomb) this, I'm gonna write something just for me!" And thus Nightfall was born. I never intended to publish it, but I slowly fell in love with it, and then I said "(f-bomb) this, I'll see what the beta readers think." And they loved it. So I submitted it to my editor, and she loved it. Now it's all,

and releasing in late summer. So I'm in this weird place of not sure what to say about it. Because it's space opera, and to me that's the most important part, but it's also a menage, which automatically put it into Samhain's Red Hots!!! category. (Three exclamation point serious, people.) I have mixed feelings about that. And because the other members of my RWA tend to write sweet romance, a conference is my only opportunity to discuss this sort of thing with another author in person.

Anyway, then there was the book signing.

"Robyn," you say, "Is that a top hat with Tarot cards in the brim filled with chocolate?" Yes. It is. Cat would approve.

So...I'm from Berwyn, as I may have mentioned before. Almost my entire family lives in the Chicago area. Thusly almost my entire family marched in after the doors opened. Seriously. Parents, aunt, uncle, cousin, cousin's kids, a plethora of people who aren't related by blood or marriage but have been considered honorary aunts and uncles since before I was born. Mom's friends. My friends. A ton of people who are all very proud of me, and who it was awesome to see. I am very grateful for their support. Really I'm very blessed as an author, because I've heard horror stories of families who just don't get it, or openly disapprove of an author's work. My mother is my biggest fan. :) She took this picture.


I think it shows my terror a bit. This was my internal monologue, brought to you by Mark in Empire Records:



Yeah.

Sarah M. Anderson was at the table behind me and she was amused by my family, but judging by the stink eye I received from a few other nearby authors, not everyone enjoyed my relatives. I loved  having my own personal army standing near my table, especially because as I now live in central Illinois I only see most of them once or twice a year at the holidays. I would have guilt if my family was blocking anyone from their fans, but the crowd was surprisingly light. Nothing like the mass of past SFs (possibly because this room was larger?). Fear not, neighboring authors, you won't have to put up with that again. For the most part this was my family's first opportunity to celebrate me being an author, because the newness is still shiny, but from now on this'll be old hat.

After the signing I got to hang out with my girlfriend Karrin and her posse, and then BFF Diana and I went to our last workshop, Evil 101: Where True Crime Meets Terrific Fiction. Which was good--I had no idea Washington state was so filled with serial killers.

Then it was gala dinner time. I pulled on my stripey tights and my pointy boots for the occasion.

I'm giggling in this photo because though this angle is bad, I was striking a pose to show off my weight loss. With the help of Weight Watchers, I've lost 20 pounds since January. No, really. Take a moment and ponder how much 20 pounds is. That's like 3 Basement Cats right there (he's skinny, he has a thyroid problem). For the weekend of the SF I was wearing jeans that I'd never fit into before and were hanging out in my drawer, ignored and forgotten, until 2 weeks ago I decided to try them on. Not only did they fit, but they're roomy. Dude. DUDE. Seriously...

And...yeah. The food continued to suck. But Susan Elizabeth Phillips had the closing speech after dinner, and that was fabulous. She had an amusing story involving a garden hose, the trunk of her car, her husband, and a clergyman. Then I sat back and watched Nicole Tersigni get in a bidding war over the Doctor Who basket at the silent auction. (Really the way people were fighting over it you'd think there was a real TARDIS key inside.) And later BFF Diana and I wandered into the bar with Sasha Devlin and stayed up until Diana was about to fall over from lack of sleep.

All in all, Spring Fling was awesome. I came home with new books (and books signed by Tiffany Reisz and Courtney Milan). I signed books. I survived without falling over and injuring myself (which happens quite often, because I'm a klutz). We survived the long drive back, and our cats were very happy to have us home.

Next, on to the Lori Foster Reader & Author Get Together 2012!