Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Aloha to RT Convention Virgins and SOS Military Mixer

I just received the November issue of RT Book Reviews by way of Hawaii - Ohio (inlaws) - Maryland.    In her monthly column, Kathryn Falk gives readers a sneak peak at special events for the RT Booklovers' Convention, May 14-18, 2014, in New Orleans:

More stars are signing up for the Book Fair.  If you love Suzanne Brockmann's books, this is your opportunity to make her acquaintance.  Air Force veteran and military spouse Kim Lowe is planning a fabulous Sunday, May 18,  SOS morning party.  We will invite all military authors to appear on a panel and we also invite anyone in the military, military spouse and readers of the military romance to join us.  The original military romance author, Lindsay McKenna, is bringing retired US Navy SEAL Chief Michael Jaco, who was part of SEAL Team Six.  Jaco will be our keynote speaker at his memorable event.  Be sure not to miss Sunday morning!

Kathryn also noted that she and Kelli Salkin are working on a convention manual for RT Virgins.  Kathryn asked me to submit my thoughts ... and I share them with you today!

I am one lucky reader with Nalini Singh and Julie James.

Three Bs to a fun filled RT Convention ...

I attended my first convention in Daytona Beach/2006.   As a reader-new-to-romance, I embraced the opportunity to jump right into the convention.   So I deployed my "boot camp" training ...

1.  Be Friendly.  I knew no one before the convention .... and I came home with several friends.  I struck up a conversation with other readers in line, at tables, and even at a piano.   On my way to an evening party, I spotted a cover model playing the piano in the foyer.   We chatted about his music ...  the piano player is Mark Johnson, Mr Romance 1996!   I love seeing his smiling face each year at RT!

While standing in line for the book fair, I chatted with a woman from St. Louis ... Mary Gramlich, the Reading Reviewer (link). Since then, we have roomed together at several conventions, encouraged each other to start our own blogs, and shared publisher info with the other.  SOS Aloha would not be what it is today if I had not chatted with Mary in line!

The convention now offers the RT Virgin Workshop - this gives newbies the chance to meet each other.   Use this opportunity to schedule a time to meet for coffee, stand in line, and/or help each other dress for the fabulous parties!

Can you guess who are these historical authors?

2.  Be Flexible.  In 2006, I was so awestruck that I often dawdled over the promo material ... and arrived last to the reader parties.   When I discovered the room was packed, I pulled out the schedule and looked for other panels.  I still remember the Romantic Suspense workshop with Allison Brennan, Brenda Novak, Patricia Potter, and Christina Skye.  I won a book from Patricia .... and scored a chat with Christina.   That chat meant more to me than any prize from the readers' parties.

The convention offers a wide range of interactive events - take advantage of them!

Christina Skye, Brenda Jackson, and Robyn Carr

3. Be Free.  Come meet the SOS America volunteers at our information table in Club RT.   We are giving away US Flag pins to readers and "veteran" stickers to those who served.   If you don't have a partner for the larger events, you can join us in line ... I'll be sure to introduce you to the authors I know! And, of course, mark your schedule for the SOS Military Mixer on Sunday, May 18, 9 am - 11 am - all are welcome.   The schedule includes open fellowship, posting the colors, the National Anthem, each service's anthem, Chief Jaco as our guest speaker, sharing stories from military families, retiring the colors, and closing fellowship.   We'll have goody bags for all military families.

Veterans post with Steely McBeam at RT/2008 in Pittsburgh

Do you have a helpful hint or convention story to share?  One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.   Comments are open through Saturday, October 5, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on  Sunday, October 6.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

To learn more about RT's magazine and convention, check out its website at

Only at RT will you see Cathy Maxwell wear an elephant's nose ...
with Eileen Dryer and Patricia Rice.


  1. Alas, I've never been to a convention but it sounds and looks like so much fun!!!

  2. I used to work for the Washington DC Visitor Convention Center, when my hubby was stationed at Andrews AFB. I never really got the time to go and wander amongst all the goings on, as we were kept really busy. I did enjoy my time though working for the Convention Center.

  3. I have never been but I would love to go to the RT 2014 in New Orleans! I am so jealous you met Nalini Singh!!!! I love her!

  4. Be well rested before you get there because you will not get one moment to sleep there is too many authors and way too many books being given away.

    I remember standing in that line and talking to you Kim and awe struck that "you came here alone" that was unbelievable to me. Maybe we will be in the lines together in 2014

  5. Great pics, love to go thanks

  6. I haven't had a chance to attend a convention yet, but hopefully someday soon.

  7. I can only imagine it being a place NOT to be shy. I would want to fully immerse myself into the experience & not take a back seat.

  8. I have no hints to offer but you sure make me want to go.

  9. I've never been either. I sure look forward to going though. It 's great seeing the pictures and everyone looks to be having the time of their life. Thanks for sharing Kim.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  10. I've been to a number of conferences, but this will be my first convention! My advice is don't hide in your room, and remember, you can sleep later. Which dovetails into Mary's advice about being well rested when you get there. Oh, and drink lots of water.

  11. I've never been to one of the conferences but they look like fun.

  12. What happened to the Lynsay Sands blog that was due on the 25th?

    1. Aloha, Libby! I published the post for Lynsay Sands' blog tour Monday afternoon (early by accident):

  13. It's on my bucket list to go to a convention one of these days :) These are very helpful hints! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Haven't been to one, but looks fun

  15. No... never had time to go... Always so far away too!

  16. I haven't been to a reader's convention, yet, but I'd love to go to one or more.

  17. The only conferences/conventions I have attended were work related. These conferences look like a lot more fun! The only suggestion I could offer, in this instance, is to bring an extra bag to bring home all the goodies!!

  18. I have never been able to go to one. Mostly because of the distance :) but it must be wonderful to go to a convention and be surrounded by romance writers, novels and fellow fans.

  19. I think it's a great idea to have all the convention newbies get together. It's like when my son went away to college and they had freshmen orientation. He met his best friends from college there.

  20. You don't know how bad this makes me want to go! :) Even though I won't have met anyone face to face before, just knowing that the place is full of others who are book nuts like me would give me the confidence to make some friends. Now...I just need to check the calendar and tell the hubby I am going to be gone...

  21. I have never been to one, but, ahh, I hope to one day! :-)