No wait, I did. Well, after a fashion. I think I made notes on about two workshops and scribbled a bit on the conference program. So with these aide-memoires, maybe I should be able to tell you what happened on Thursday...
Right, yes. The opening session, at a punishing 8.30am, featured Janet Evanovich. Janet Evanovich! Stephanie Plum! Half the reason I wrote the Sophie Green books in the first place! She managed to be very funny even first thing in the morning, and with a broken foot (from falling off the stage at another signing). She also mentioned she's looking for co-authors, at which my roomies' ears pricked up . Later, when I spotted Janet signing copies of Finger Lickin' Fifteen, they conspired to pass one of my cards to her assistant and demand I email her about the co-authoring thing. Which I suppose I must, because Stacia has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and could really kick my ass if I don't...
Later in the morning we hung out in the lobby bar, trying to get Wi-Fi. Unfortunately Marriott hotels feel their room rates are too cheap to include free Wi-Fi, for which they charge $12.95, plus tax, every day. We gave up and used Stacia's satellite card instead. Take that!
The Keynote Luncheon on Thursday was with Linda Howard, who I haven't read but really must. She was terrifically funny, with a long, slow Alabama drawl (Alabama? Is that right?) and I can still hear her saying, "I am the keeper of the nuthouse." I know how you feel, Linda.
After this, we attended a workshop on The Many Flavors of Fantasy (I suppose I ought to use the US spelling). One of the speakers made the pithy observation that the difference between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance is that the former has a hot chick with tattoos on its cover. The latter has a hot dude.
Later in the afternoon I went to the free Avon signing (free! Just queue up, get a book signed, and walk away with it! Free!) and picked up a load of urban fantasies on Stacia and Jen's recommendation. I kind of come and go on my love for this genre, but I'm always open to finding new authors. I also got a lot of Historicals; I'm on a bit of a Historicals binge at the moment.
(For those of you not totally familiar with the Urban Fantasy definition, it generally refers to the paranormal subgenre that's set in this world, but with vampires, witches, etc. Think Buffy, Being Human, True Blood, Dresden Files, Dark-Hunters etc. Not the same as Fantasy or High Fantasy, which is more Discworld or Lord of the Rings, set in a totally different world, where technology is limited and magic is prevalent; or SF/Futuristic, set in a future world, often in space, often high-tech. Just as a guide).Anyway. Sometimes I get sort of saturated with Urban Fantasy and it seems like authors are struggling to find a new original idea. Sometimes I get the feeling they're trying too hard to come up with a new twist on an old idea--I can't think of many ways vampires haven't been done, for example. And sometimes with the lesser books in the genre, I'm pretty sure I've actually read them before. Where I think my heart lies, and has ever since I read Witches Abroad when I was about sixteen, is pure Fantasy. Swords and sandals. Invent your own geography. Love it.
After this we made our way to the Passionate Ink Party at an Irish bar a few blocks away. PI is my online chapter, for erotic romance writers, and I'm afraid one of the readings given by Angela James made a waiter nearly drop his tray. Maybe we should have warned them.
I bought a handful of raffle tickets at the PI Party, which turned out to have been a great decision, because I won this huge gift basket, donated by Paranormal Romantics. It included a bottle of margarita mix (long gone!), speciality teas, coffees, chocolate wafers, bath petals, scented candles, t-shirts... it was really impressive and very generous. Thank you so much ladies!