Toni's Romantic Times Conference Recap: It's All About the Books (and the Dresses)

I spent the last week of April at the Romantic Times conference in Columbus, Ohio – and I’m not proud to tell you that I’m still unpacking! But there were two very large suitcases involved. And lots of dresses and jewelry, and an insane amount of shoes. (I packed ten pairs and managed to wear nine of them, something I’m not sure if I’m proud of or embarrassed by.) This is the madness that ensues when someone makes the mistake of hosting a conference close enough for me to drive to. Anyway, as I sift through the piles of laundry and other rubble, thought I’d share a few personal conference highlights: Toni and Lindsey at the Red Dress PartyRT hosts a big banquet and/or dance party every night, which means I got to dress up a lot, and if you know me, you know this makes me happy. Both because I spend a lot of time at my computer not dressed up and because I adore clothes, dresses, shoes, purses … and yes, this is exactly why two full suitcases were required. Here, Lindsey Faber (Samhain editor and my personal assistant) and I pose in our red frocks on red dress night.

Lori Armstrong and Toni BlakeI got to hang out with a lot of author and industry friends, something there’s never enough time for since we’re all spread out all over the country. Here I am with good friend Lori Armstrong aka Lorelei James at the Saturday bookfair.

Scamps and Vamps at RT

I hosted a bookseller luncheon with a group of local author friends I’ve known forever: LuAnn McLane, Dianne Castell, Patricia Sargeant, Donna MacMeans, and Shiloh Walker. Despite that we’d spent the last hour before the luncheon frantically stuffing a hundred goody bags in my room after half of us got caught in a major traffic jam on the way to the conference, the lunch came off without a hitch and it was great meeting so many enthusiastic, romance-loving booksellers.

I spoke on two panels, one for readers and another about multi-genre writing – and everyone who attended the multi-genre panel received a free copy of ONE RECKLESS SUMMER, thanks to my fabulous publicist at Avon! And speaking of panels, I heard that Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches Trashy Books mentioned the Destiny series in her Save the Contemporary panel, which totally made my day. Thanks, Sarah!

Toni, Lindsey, and Keri in cat earsAnd I got to wear cat ears. Yeah, I know, that one sounds weird, but it was kind of fun. If you know anything about the RT conference, you know each night is themed, and this year the vampire ball was coupled with a sort of animal theme – “catpersons” were mentioned in the conference literature, so I decided this was the route to take and I persuaded Lindsey and friend Keri Stevens to join me, so here we are: three crazy catgirls. You can’t tell this, but one of my cat ears was pierced, which amused me, and yes, Keri’s leopard print coat is fabulous and it was all I could do not to rip it off her run away with it.

So there you have it – my RT conference in a nutshell. The next big thing on my calendar? The release of SUGAR CREEK on May 25, only a couple of short weeks away now! Big thanks to everyone who has let me know they’re looking forward to this second installment in the Destiny series – I’m excited that the wait is almost over!