Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Romantic Times Wrap Up

I am home from The Romantic Times Convention so now it is time for me to tell you about it. Where to start …… Well I will be writing a blog about my travel with Mia later so I guess I should just talk about the convention itself.

I guess I should start at the first RT that I went to which was Chicago in 2012. I did an overnight trip with some friends.  We didn’t plan on staying long so we basically just ran in and started chatting.  We met up with some authors that we already knew and that was awesome.  We had a fantastic time just sitting around and visiting with all our friends that happened to be there.  A few of us decided that we would do it again.

The second trip to RT was fun as well.  There were four of us in our room and we had a lot of fun. We did run around meeting all of our friend and authors.  Mia and I bought that weekend pass and if I remember it correctly we did very little of the actually convention and more of the socializing.  I have found that really all the conventions are is for readers to get together and socialize. I have not learned a thing at any convention other that they are expensive as hell.  Mia and I drove to KC and just in travel it was probably close to $600. Mia had to fly in but I was able to drive and it would have been more for her if she would have flown into KC instead of just to St Louis.  The hotel was okay but not worth the money they charged. That is a reoccurring theme that I will get to later.  So basically, we probably spent 5 or 6 hundred dollars each.

RT number 3 was NOLA !!!  Let’s start with the planning. I found out that RT would be in New Orleans at the 2013 convention in Kansas City. I planned on going as soon as I heard where it was going to be but life happens. Mia and I were not sure we would be able to go to RT but we managed to make it. This time I was the one who flew in to Nashville. Mia drove over from the backwoods and picked me up and off we went. My flight cost me $230 and then there was the gas for Mia. Once again, we only planned on doing the signing. We get there and find out that there was a $38 parking fee for each day so yep, you do the math.  Already, this trip was so expensive I wanted to cry.  I knew what the room was going to cost but I had no idea that the parking was going to be so ridiculous.  Now, onto the room, I took a video of the room and I am just saying I was so not impressed with it. I was still excited by the thought of hanging in NOLA.  Once again, Mia and I went to socialize with friends.

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and pulled into the parking garage. The guys there were helpful and really nice. Then came the time when they said that the cost was $38 a night for parking.  A bellhop took our luggage to the holding area till I got us checked in. Checking into the hotel was a pain in the ass but we got it done.  We retrieved our luggage and headed up to our room.  OMG the elevators were a pain in the ass as well. I have never seen elevators like these and they said they were the most efficient, not something I am sure I believe. They had a keypad where you put your floor number then it would tell you which elevator to take. Then the waiting began, I am not sure how long I waited but it seemed like forever.  We get to our floor and headed off to our room.  We walked it and I realized it was not what I had reserved but I really didn’t want to deal with the front desk again. I wanted a double double but the guy gave us a king and Mia and I have slept together before so …. 

I sat down and tried to figure out the finances with the added parking fee and how much it was going to cost each of us.  All that did was depress me but I decided that if I was going to pay that much I was going to have some fun.   We rested up a bit then headed down to the lobby to see who we could find and to text a few people to let them know we had arrived. 

The first person we see was Jenn LeBlanc and of course I just had to yell “ OMG IT’S JENN LEBLANC “  At that point she probably wanted to run and Mia was hiding hoping no one would notice she was with me.  Jenn introduced us to Tristan, one of her models and of course Kati, her awesome assistant was with her.  We chatted a few minutes then they had to go do some events or something but we planned on meeting up later.  Mia and I headed back up to the room to unpack and rest and before the night began.

A little while later, we headed back down and were looking around the bar for a table when we saw Reggie and Kasi Alexander.  Hugs all around and a little chatting then we were off to find a table in the loudest bar known to man.  I am not even kidding about the sound of the bar. It was kind of small with the table close together.  Add in a hundred people and it was deafening.  I could barely hear Mia and she was sitting right next to me.  We ordered a couple of drinks and waited for Jenn and her entourage to show up.  
Then we see them and Jenn is carrying a box. I am a little confused but I was open for whatever.  She has brought the greatest game ever to play, Cards Against Humanity.  Tristan baled on us and was resting in the room but my guess is he didn’t want to spend anytime with the crazy (me).  Jenn explained the game and we were off.  If you ever get the chance to play do it.  Lots of people stopped by the table and we had a great time just chatting. I noticed a few authors that I knew on site but only yelled at Sophie Oak/ Lexi Blake and her fantastic assistant and all around wonderful woman, Chloe Vale. They were on their way to someplace so we only got that chance to say hi.  

Thursday, Mia and I set out to find a restaurant that she had eaten at before, Mother’s.  We found Emeril’s place and I am just saying it looked beautiful from the outside but there was no way would be able to afford to eat there this trip. I did notice how dirty the city was. I had heard it was kind of dirty and I have been to some nasty places but this was even more disgusting.  I was so disappointed in a city that I had always wanted to visit. We got lost but eventually we found Mother’s.  There was a line outside the doors but there was a gentleman behind us who was a regular and he couldn’t say enough about it.  We looked at a menu and decided we would get a salad for dinner as well. 

The food was really good and filling.  We had a fridge in the room so we tossed the salads in there and knew we would be eating yummy later.  I think we napped and then headed off to meet up with our partners in crime for some more good times.  We met some new people, Lindsey and Nancy and had a great time chatting and playing.

Friday was a repeat of Thursday, walking around looking around the city and then heading back to the hotel area to eat. We did find a great place right across the street to eat, Jimmy J’s.  One of the things I noticed was that all the food places where really small and could only fit a few people at a time.  This became our primary food place. We had brunch and dinner there the rest of the trip.  The food was great and Mia didn’t have to cheat too much on her diet. The cost was reasonable and the staff was amazing. 

Saturday we got tickets for the signing but Mia needed to work so I went down to the signing but everyone kept asking where she was so I went back up and made her come down to socialize.  We spent time talking to Jenn, Tristan, Sophie and Chloe.  I told Sophie that Tristan was with Jenn so she had to go and say hi and get her picture taken with him.  We had hoped to meet up with Sophie and Chloe later but unfortunately that wasn’t able to happen.  Cheri Clark was able to find me and we chatted for a few minutes then Michelle Rushing found us and it was great talking to both of those ladies.  Mia and I were going between Jenn and Sophie talking to them when they weren’t busy.  We finally saw Tracey Reid whom I had texted and called but she ignored me. I was beginning to feel unloved (just kidding…. Maybe).  Tracey told us that Cheri was up in there room packing up some stuff so Mia and I went up there and spent some talking to her before going to grab some dinner.  We did get to spend a few more minutes talking to Reggie and Kasi finally. They were some busy people. 

We got up Sunday morning and packed everything up and headed out but first we had to say goodbye for another year to Jenn.  I have a feeling we woke her up. Kati was in the shower and Tristan wasn’t up yet so no goodbyes for them.  Of course there was a problem with the hotel again; they put our parking on Jenn’s room.  We got it figured out and we were headed home. 

In closing I am not sure I will go to another RT. I can’t justify the cost of spending close to $1000 on just visiting friends.  This hotel was expensive and not worth the money.  The conference is expensive and I have never learned anything.  Just meeting the authors is not worth the cost.  I think next year I may try a different conference but I think most are going to be about the same. 

Sinfully Sarcastic,

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