What's up party people?! Hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. I finally managed to sit down and put together this RT Convention final thoughts/recap post. I had thrown together some twitter cliff notes of day 1, 2, 3 and 4 while I was there but, I figured a more in depth post would help those who are considering attending next year. Spoiler alert: I will DEFINITELY be in attendance. I digress. Without further ado, here are my final thoughts:
Before packing my bags and figuring out my agenda, I checked out several posts aimed at first time RT attendees. It's probably one of the best ideas I've ever had. I got several tips on how to best prepare (and I use the word very loosely because there really is no "preparing" for RT) for my RT adventure. To be quite honest, the thing that was keeping me up at nights was the fact that I was going to be alone for the first 3 days I was there. I had plans to fly in on Tuesday and my roomies weren't showing up until Friday. I actually had zero to worry about. But more on that later...
I flew in on Tuesday afternoon and after a rather bizarre SuperShuttle ride (which I was fortunate enough to share with the lovely @BookMatchmaker) I arrived at the hotel. I have to give a huge shout out to the Hyatt Regency Dallas. The staff was beyond amazing from the moment I arrived until the moment I left. After scoping out my room and the hotel (which was plastered with RT posters and what not) I headed to my first solo event, Scrapbook Mania. My table mates were all super nice and we worked on our scrapbooks while Jennifer L. Armentrout, Rachel Caine, Celeste Easton, Darynda Jones, Jeffe Kennedy, Ciara Knight and Kim Meyer walked around and chit chatted with all the tables. I met a fellow conference goer (@mmbookgal744) via Twitter and made a date to hit up the New Adult College Game Night together. That doesn't seem like a huge deal but, for my socially awkward/introverted self it was quite a feat. We walked in and my brain almost exploded. There was Jennifer L. Armentrout, Cora Carmack, Jay Crownover, Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover, Sophie Jordan and KA Tucker playing water pong, cornhole and other assorted games with readers. Highlight of the night was probably watching Cora Carmack and Jay Crownover play an intense game of water pong.
I called it a night relatively early because I knew Day 1 of the conference was going to test my stamina. I made it to the First Timer Orientation (which was okay as far as orientations go) and followed their suggestion of heading over to the Goody Room. And then it happened. The universe did me a solid and placed my Wonder Twin next to me in the line for said Goody Room. More on this awesomeness later. After our trip to the Goody Room we headed to the Welcome Party. It was not what I expected but we had a decent time. We attended 3 more panels (my favorite being The Care and Feeding of Authors session) and then made our way down to the Taste of Texas Romance Rodeo. Guys...there was a mechanical bull. That pretty much sums up the party in nutshell.
Day 2 descended on me like a pack of wild hyenas. It's impossible to convey how intense this event is. You literally schedule yourself for back to back events from the moment you wake up until the moment your head hits the pillow. But I didn't let this phase me. I laced up my Chucks and hit the ground running, er, or at a brisk walk. I had 5 panels that I needed to attend, one that included Ilona Andrews and nothing was going to stop me from getting my fangirl on. I also had my Wonder Twin with me so I slapped my game face on and took care of business. All the panels were great but, I especially liked the Paranormal: The High Price of Love and Magic session. The banter between Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter was funny as hell. The night ended with the Wild, Wild West Steampunk party. People do not play around when it comes to dressing up for these events.
And then Day 3 rolled in. This was the day that I was most excited about. I was going to attend a panel that Patricia Briggs was going to be on. You guys. Patricia Briggs! I could barely friggin' contain myself when she walked by me as I was standing in line to get into the room where the panel was taking place. The folks who were in line were able to talk to her and her husband (both of whom are very sweet and super funny) for a little while before the session started. I also managed to snag a picture with her as well as her autograph. The epicness (I don't care if it's not a word) of that moment will never be forgotten. The icing on this cake made of awesome was that I also got the chance to have Ilona and Gordon Andrews sign my book and snagged a picture with them. We ended the night with the RT Book Reviews Awards Ceremony.
Day 4 brought the arrival of the Giant Book Fair. We showed up 2 hours before the doors opened and even though fully registered attendees were able to gain access to the book fair 30 minutes early I'm glad that we did. We were able to get in and get out without having to deal with too many lines.
You're probably wondering if there were any cons. The short answer is yes. Nothing of this size and magnitude can go off without a hitch. You're going to have to deal with lines, people who don't know how to act and, in some cases, standing room only panels. But the good vastly outnumbered the bad. You're also probably wondering if attending RT was worth the cost of the registration, travel expenses, etc. The short answer? Yes. And it's because of this girl right here...
Meeting my favorite authors was amazing. Attending all the panels and events was super fun. Getting the opportunity to meet other bloggers (I'm looking at you Miss Little Book Addict and The Edible Bookmark) was great. But meeting my Wonder Twin made this trip priceless. We kind of sort of briefly met the first night during the New Adult College Game Night. I guess we didn't pick up on what the universe was trying to throw down so it threw us knuckle heads together again in the Goody Room line the next morning. The rest, as they say, is history. We got to talking, realized we were meant to be sidekicks and we set out to conquer RT. This adventure would not have been the same without her. Thank you for making my RT experience amazing. Can't wait to take on Vegas with you next year.