Looking Back with UTC
It’s been several years since we’ve attended RT. This used to be one of UTC’s must-do conventions every year and somehow we’ve decided to do other things these past few years. We miss it! The excitement, the ambiance, the people and of course… the books!
Signings are always fun but the special thing about RT is that it’s a week-long (almost) conference where this amazing group of readers basically takes over whatever hotel is being hosted at. Fun readers and authors are everywhere you go! Lobby, elevators, hallways, actual panels and signings. Basically you can run into anyone and everyone without notice. And that’s magical!
I remember the first RT I went to, I got there on a Thursday and the first author I saw walking the hallway after I registered was Charlaine Harris. I was a bit intimidated to go up to her, but we were in a group so we stopped her for a pic and she was the nicest and sweetest ever. She stopped and chatted with us, took pics, and had we had something for her to sign (so unprepared!) she would’ve. This is an experience that I haven’t been able to find at many other places. At least not in the scale that RT provides.
So going back to RT this year, we have our game plan ready! The panels we want to attend are marked, and we have our books ready to go to Atlanta. So before we kick off our week of tips on how to make the most out of the event, we want to look back and reminisce on our favorite moments.
- My first is and will always be meeting J.R. Ward. The first RT I went to it was actually with a group of friends I met on GoodReads and we all shared a love for all things Black Dagger Brotherhood. In fact, we call ourselves the Black Dagger Sisterhood. Waiting in line to get into her author chat, sitting in front row while the Warden made jokes back and forth with us, and even getting a group pic with her at the beginning of the panel (much to many death stares from other attendees) was so much fun. We were also lucky enough to get wristbands to get books signed at the big Saturday signing by her. She even jammed to Jay-Z when my friend Benita played a song while she was signing her book. It was an all around wonderful experience!
- Getting to meet and spend time with my UTC girls. Angela and Suzanne have attended RT with me and as close as our friendship is here at UTC, meeting them in person was a real treat. They are both so adorable and it was so much fun to see our friendship in that new setting. Real life vs online. And it only keeps getting better. Love them to pieces. We will miss you this year Suzanne!
- I have another one that is not book related. That first RT, I had planned to room with two girls from the Black Dagger Sisterhood. One I had met in person a few times and had a great connection with, we chatted all the time outside of our group chats. The other, not so much. I hadn’t really talked to her much. To make matters worst, when we check into the hotel they only had a king size bed for us and no other rooms available. It was that or find another hotel. So we decided to go for it and all three would cuddle up in the same bed. This third person is Leigh, who is now one of my dearest friends. Taking that wild chance on rooming with someone I barely had talked to was the beginning of a true friendship that will last a lifetime. I owe that to RT as well. We’ll miss you this year Leigh!
- But lets get back to the books right? Another fun memory was that one time at the Avon signing that we kept getting drunk on the free wine they were passing around and we ended up at Jeaniene Frost’s table talking to her about Chapter 32. We didn’t know her sister was her assistant at the signing and as we kept talking about it, Jeaniene Frost kept getting more and more red until she said it was all too embarrassing to be talked about in front of her sister.
- Getting to chat with some of our favorite authors is always the highlight of my RT experience and there are too many of those memories to count. From that one time that Angela asked about penguins in Alaska while at dinner with Nalini Singh (you’ll never live that down!), or when we went to breakfast with Megan Hart and didn’t get to eat because they never put in our food order.
I’m so thankful for all the wonderful people that have come into my life because of this conference. You are now part of my life and my heart. RT is the best way to fully experience the romance book community at its best and I can’t wait for another year of shenanigans.
The last two times that I attended RT Con was one of the best memories I’ve had as a reader. Not only being with hundreds of people who share the same interest, I was able to spend time with my co-bloggers and online friends solidifying some of these friendships. Most of all meeting the rockstars of my book world. I’ll never forget the selfie moments with these authors or being tongue tied in their presence. Then realizing most of them are as down to earth as I am. This year, my plan is not only to spend time with friends but discover new authors to follow.
Being in the UK makes going to RT a big (and expensive) endeavour, which is why I am practically an RT virgin, having only been the once in 2014 New Orleans. I have some very fond memories and fantastic pictures from that trip and I am hopeful that one of these day I will make again, it was well worth the expense.
One of the things I loved about RT was that I got to meet so many people who loved exactly what I did: romance novels. And what had me really excited was that it was the first time I saw Francesca and Angela in the flesh, rather than over Skype, email or messenger. Francesca came to get me from the airport, hurricane cocktail in hand. I am massively jealous that I can’t attend this year!
I also got to meet one of my writer heroes – Lisa Kleypas. There is a picture of me somewhere looking starstruck and goofy as I get to meet one of my favourite authors. Of course, RT is a fantastic place to meet the authors you love, everyone is very accessible and friendly. I ended up coming home with a suitcase full of books, quite literally!
There are so many good memories of RT, mostly involving the people I met and the great time I had, especially as it was held in such an iconic city. At one point I was eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde at 2am and it all seemed fantastically unreal. If you get a chance to go you should; you’ll leave with millions of books and even more fond memories.