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  • Thursday, April 24, 2008

    RT Con - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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    I love Romantic Times - the magazine, the advertisements, the support of authors and readers. Usually I love the convention. Please understand that this blog isn't meant to belittle anyone or anything. A few bad impressions can sometimes spoil all the good impressions. And I really have no idea how much of this was in RT's control, approved by them, or just happened.

    But now, since it DID happen, I'm really, really curious what YOU think.

    From Thursday to Sunday last week, I was at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Pittsburgh, PA. In many, many ways, I had a FABULOUS time. In some ways, I was beyond frustrated. In other ways, I was outright shocked.
    Because this is a convention meant for readers and authors to connect, I'd like to get reader feedback. I hope you'll take a moment to share your thoughts.

    First, the good!
    For me, most conventions are a way for me to reconnect with authors and readers I seldom see except when we're both at an event like this. It's cool too that I get to meet new authors and readers as well.
    And even more fun, I get to hook up with booksellers from far away.
    The photo shows the oh-so-lovely Australian bookseller, Rosemary Potter (in yellow) with new to me booksellers from Perth on either end. That's me in white.
    Isn't it grand that these dedicated ladies will travel so far for the books they love!? More than worth a trip to the convention. I signed a LOT of bookplates for them to take back to Australia with them.

    Authors friends I got to see - first Holly Jacobs, who will usually sweep all into "Holly world" where it's fun and carefree. Then the hilarious JC Wilder, who I adore, and her friend Isabo Kelly. (Thanks to Linnea Sinclair for this terrific shot of JC and Isabo!)


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    Next up is me with Brenda Jackson. Man oh man, do I adore Brenda! She's one of those ladies you talk to, and you immediately feel like you've known her forever. She's very humble about being a big star, and very nice. Last is Maddie James and Marcia James - part of the "James gang," as Marcia calls them.

    I also did a panel for the convention, which allowed me to hook up with two author friends, and two new to me authors.
    I'm on the far right in black.
    On the far left, front row, is Ann Christopher and Lori Wilde, good friends and lovely ladies.
    Sharon Sala and Christie Craig are behind them.
    I felt like a lump in that very professional panel as each author explained aspects of her writing. You see, I can't explain what I do as an author. It just sort of happens for me (thank heavens!) and I'm unable to dissect it.


    Other new to me authors and readers...
    First, fabulous reader Annie, who was gracious enough to take part in a special video gig that Lifetime.com did with me, then amazing author Jacqueline Frank who I knew all about, but hadn't yet met!

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    Author Jaide Fox sat next to me at the signing and kept me entertained during lulls. What a nice lady, and her mother and sister are authors too! Amazing. Deborah Barrett was one of the super-nice readers I got to meet in person after the author panel!

    Speaking of Lifetime.com and videos... I had a blast taking part in a special video they organized where they taped readers getting their books signed by me, then "surprised" one mega nice reader by leading us both to the hotel restaurant for a one-on-one visit.
    On camera.
    With lights and direction...
    Can you say conspicuous!? LOL
    The wait staff and attendees were all SO curious. An actress I'm not, but Regie, the reader who had an adorable twin with her, did GREAT! And Evan, the producer, was so nice and easy to work with.

    Here's Regie during the signing, and at our little surprise, Evan and his audio guy at the signing, and then all of us together!
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    Here's the link to a quickie, spur-of-the-moment video I did for Barbara Vey and Publisher's Weekly. Man, when I see stuff like this, I realize I'm all off kilter! LOL. My nose is crooked, and I talk out of the side of my mouth! I KNEW I had that country twang, but I didn't know how I looked utilizing it. LOL
    Anyhoo, here's a quickie (20 sec, I think) video of me touting my and Dianne's event during the bookfair! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_MJF1VTL04


    Then there was the harmless, and entertaining fun!
    Costume balls!
    I've never attended - I'm not much for dressing up and I was too busy this time anyway with a lot of video interviews, regular interviews and shuffling back and forth from the overflow hotel and the conference hotel.
    But these ladies took part, and didn't they look stellar!?
    First up is my reader friend, Billie Jo, and then author friend, Tiffany Bryan in faery ball costumes. Next, authors Kathy Love, Erin McCarthy and Tiffany again at one of the galas, and then Tiffany for the vampire ball.

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    I understand that the vampire and faery balls are very, very popular with readers and authors alike. Everyone who attends them has a FABULOUS time.

    So I'm curious... as a reader, is that something you'd love to take part in? Would you enjoy dressing up and being out late and hanging with friends to see their different costumes?
    Or would you do like and dash into your room during those events?

    Please note - I USED to hang in the lobby to see the awesome costumes as they went by. But being that I was in a different hotel this time, that wasn't really possible. :-(

    I felt like I really missed out!

    Oh yeah, on top of seeing great costumes, I also love to see everyone's jewelry. So many attendees have their own distinctive style, and it shows in their jewelry. I saw soooo many beautiful pieces this year!

    Anyway, back to the balls... I think most of these events lasted late into the evening, so the hour also dissuades me. I'm too old to frolic past 10 P.M.

    LOL. The most I can manage is a meal with friends before slinking off to my bed and an attempt to sleep.

    And speaking of meals with friends - I had a wonderful prearranged breakfast with good friends Kathy Andrico (front left) and Daphne Wedig (back right). In the pink is author Jenny Gardiner and next to me in green is reader Jennifer Allison.


    Kathy, bless her, saved me numerous time throughout the convention. I owe her personal assistant pay for sure! She went above and beyond in helping me in everything that I "suddenly" needed. I owe her bigtime!
    (BTW, Kathy is also the one who takes the photographs at my and Dianne's June Event.)



    I also had dinner with Michelle Buonfiglio from Lifetime.com's blog, "RomanceB(u)yTheBook." It was fabulous! Great food, and good company with Ann Christopher, Marjorie Liu, and Eve Silver. It was the first I'd met Marjorie and Eve, and they're such terrific ladies.

    So there were some real highlights about the convention - namely friends old and new, good food (I really liked the one convention meal I was able to gnab) and the fun costume parties.

    But this leads me into some of the FRUSTRATION.

    I registered for this convention some time ago. The way it's set up, you have to register for the convention and the hotel through the RT site. It's one of the most expensive conventions I attend. Between the hefty conference fee, airfare and hotel, I spent well over $2000 for this, so you sort of go into it... expecting certain things.
    Silly me.

    First off, I got bumped from my room. How, I don't know, given how early I registered. And then later I found out that some attendees had registered AFTER me and still gotten a room.
    So... go figure.
    I got a call from a very nice person at RT during a dinner with friends, and because I had friends over, I only caught some of the details. The gist of it was that I MIGHT be bumped, but if I really truly needed to be in the convention hotel, I should call an RT rep. Well, I tried contacting people, but didn't get a response.

    I had stuff lined up left, right and sideways, and NOT being at the hotel was unthinkable. I called the hotel the day of my flight, and was told I'd have to speak to someone in management, and was on hold about 10 minutes before I gave up and decided to take my chances.
    I arrived at the hotel, tried to register, and was told - I'd cancelled.
    Which I had NOT done.
    The big problem here is that everyone who had a meeting with me on that Thursday was also told I'd cancelled. Naturally they filled my appointment slots with other appointments.
    Understandable for them, given the circumstances. Not so understandable as to why RT would cancel me.
    I ended up rearranging many things for Friday and Saturday, even though those days were already jam-packed with stuff. I literally only had time for coffee in my room, and dinner late at night.
    In fact, I barely had time to breathe all weekend, which deducted a lot of the time I would have otherwise had doing what I like to do most - mingling with friends old and new.
    Needless to say I'm not at all happy about any of this.
    Let me explain more about WHY it mattered so much to me.

    Everything is in the conference hotel, and the convenience of being able to dash to your room to freshen up is crucial, especially with back to back interviews - all interviews I WANTED to do and was grateful for, so I'm not complaining about that. But I needed to change in between, needed to touch up my hair and such...

    To make up for that lack, I was told the Hilton would supply a shuttle back and forth. The hotels weren't all that close, but... yeah.
    Forget the shuttle.


    Sometimes it took up to 45 minutes for the shuttle to get to me. Other times, because there was only ONE shuttle apparently servicing the entire hotel not just the convention, I didn't get a straight trip to or from my hotel. I got taken to the airport, the bird aviary, shopping... sometimes as much as a half hour out of my way. Not the fault of the other attendees! They were in the same boat as me!

    But I never knew how much time to allot to get from one scheduled event to another, because I never had any idea how long it'd take for the shuttle, or if it'd be a straight trip.
    I gave up on the shuttle and relied on the cabs, which were easier to get, but roughtly cost $10 each way. I spent a LOT of money on cabs.

    So... wouldn't you have been peeved, too?
    I hate to think I'm a stick in the mud, but c'mon!

    Then there's the conference hotel, which truly looked more like it was under demolition than remodeling. I can not believe a convention was scheduled in such a pit.

    I kid you not - there was plaster dust THICK everywhere. Some of my friends (most of whom are still coughing with sore throats) said they had to dust off their hangars before they could unpack. One friend said her room was still wet with paint!

    I saw many doors that had a paper taped on the outside to show the door number. Some papers fell, got thrown away - and then, no door number!
    A lack of door frames meant that everything said in the hall could be heard in the room, and vice versa. It was almost like the door stood open, everything was so clear and LOUD.


    Many of my friends had their towels and toilet paper sitting on the floor because there was no means to hang them. No towel bars, no toiler paper roller. Is that not insane???
    I know of at least one person who didn't even have a shower door/curtain and had to keep mopping up the water from the floor.


    The 6th floor was missing some ceiling. Some hallways ended with a half-hanging plastic barricade with dangerous tools on the other side. I swear, it reminded me of a horror movie where the lunatic always has a weapon at hand. Go beyond the plastic and grab up a saw. Or hammer. Or nail gun!


    The carpets and walls in common areas were layered in grime and dust. If you leaned on the wall, you got dirty.


    To my recollection, the rooms were $120 a night or thereabouts. I've seen better, cleaner rooms for $49. LOL
    In comparison, the Omni, where I stayed, was lovely. Just so, so inconvenient.

    So as a reader, would any of that matter to you? Or would you shrug it off and wallow in the fun of the event without giving the other stuff a thought, regardless of what you'd paid?

    And now...

    On to the UGLY.


    This is the part I'm MOST curious about.
    All of you know I'm not a prude. Not by a long shot.
    And I'm not the moral police either, so to each her own. If what I'm about to details is your thing, more power to you. But I'd like to know how many really are into it, and how many aren't.
    I guess what I'd really like is an overview of what it is readers look for in a big convention like this.

    For instance, a few of the male models put on display were... crude. Very, very crude. To the point of being obnoxious and offensive.

    After a military tribute ended, a strip show began. Yup. Stripping.

    I don't think anything was actually shown (other than female breasts, which somehow got loose from clothing) because (are you ready?) much of it happened behind the American flag.

    The. American. Flag.
    I'm a huge supporter of our troops, and to think of our flag used as an accoutrement to a strip show... well, yeah, not my thing. In fact, it made me a little ill.

    This was the tribute?

    To who!?

    One model (Part of a separate publisher party, not one of the RT models) was supposedly arrested 3 times over the weekend. (Check out J.C. Wilder's blog for more on that fiasco.) The "cavemen" as they're called, were embarrassing for many.

    Simulated oral sex on a stage. Um, no thank you! Not my thing.

    Manhandling, womenhandling (Depending on who initiated what.)

    Feigned acts of intimacy... I mean, I KNOW I'm old, but I thought that sort of public behavior was horrid when I was young!

    I'm not a person who feels compelled to run around defending the romance genre. Folks either get it or they don't.
    People, are we TRYING to make them think the worst of us?

    Do we want them to think we're all sex-starved, uneducated housewives just waiting to go wild?


    Or, as I'm starting to wonder, is RT a mix of romance and something more? I know it's called "Romantic Times," but these days, maybe it's more "Erotic Times?" (Again, no insult to erotica authors or publishers. I respect all writing talents.)

    But if that's the case, as a romance author, I've stepped into the wrong zone.

    Like I said, I didn't attend the parties. But I didn't have to. There was the stuff happening in the hotel bar, elevators, etc... I saw more than I cared to.

    Groping.
    Lots and lots of groping.
    Right out there in the open for all the world to see.
    Anyone not involved in the convention surely has the wrong impression of romance readers and authors. At least from my perspective.
    What about yours?

    Would you enjoy seeing some stripped down (most were shirtless) buff male models in a competition?



    Would you enjoy seeing MORE models (some of them professional strippers, one reputed to be a porn star) being openly fondled and oohed over by women?


    Here are some photos (thanks to Linnea Sinclair for sharing!) that show the cover models. These are, I'm pretty sure, from the RT cover model contest where folks voted on their fave. All good clean fun. After all, we DO have gorgeous male models on some of our covers.



    The problems happened with the Cavemen, not these guys.
    I just thought I'd close out this long-winded blog with some more photos. :-)


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    Nice looking guys, right? And they were! Very nice. If there are to be cover models mingling around, let them be nice, well-manner guys.

    PLEASE no stripping, groping, or pretend sex.

    But that's me, so I'm asking you - readers and authors alike - what do you think? Is this your type of thing, or has the RT convention gone overboard?



    If you could dictate the convention, what would you get rid of, what would you have more of, and what would be your FAVORITE and LEAST FAVORITE part of a reader & author event?



    If you're to the end, then THANK YOU for reading through my long vent, and please share your thoughts.

    My best to all!


    Lori Foster

    also writing as

    L.L. Foster



    http://www.lorifoster.com/

    http://www.llfoster.com/



    lorilfoster@gmail.com

    81 Comments:

    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Don't you love it when I'm the first to comment on my own blog? LOL. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for all the extra line breaks. I got a call from the power co saying I'd lose power for 3 hours today, so I wanted to get this loaded in a hurry and didn't have time to check it over.
    That's my story and I'm sticking to it - but it is true. LOL

    Also, sorry for the super long length! There was a lot to talk about and plenty of photos to share from the RT con!

    Lori

    4:37 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    WOW. I have to say I am kind of glad I hadnt gone to one of these. Doesnt sound like my cuppa. I don't mind seeing or voting on the male models but if I want to see stripping I'll take my dollers to the strip club..not a convention. And to do all that in a military tribute is offensive(to me anyway). I wouldnt mind hanging out in the lobby seeing the costumes or people watching but I'm kind of shy and probably wouldnt have gone to the actual ball.

    As a reader, I am happy enough meeting authors and sharing books/stories with other readers.

    LOL at your "anyway, back to the balls" lead in. I'm sorry but after reading about stripping etc my mind was in the gutter for a moment.

    Shana

    5:19 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    ROTFLMAO!!! Oh Shana, I totally missed that! Too hilarious. Yeah, back to "them." ;-)

    I hope no one actually saw any. But I wouldn't swear to it.
    LOL

    Lori

    5:23 AM  
    Blogger susan andersen said...

    I love naked men.
    In private.

    I've never been big on viewing them in public, however--and the feigned sex acts? Eewww. Really not fond of that as a representation of my genre.

    As an aside, Lori--I'm with you on not being able to explain how I do what I do when it comes to writing. For all the up-front work I put into a book, I never truly know what I'm going to write until I plant my butt in the chair and start typing. I believe there's an element of magic to writing (for me at least) and I hesitate to analyize it for fear it will go away.

    6:17 AM  
    Blogger Laurie D. said...

    I was only at the booksigning portion of the convention, but having heard about all of the things you mentioned before I went, and then seeing the very same cover models you've mentioned, strutting around and spewing vulgarities as if they were adolescents who've just discovered "bad" words, I was not impressed. I know there are legitimate activities that go on, but what I'd heard and what I saw lent a trashy, unsophisticated feel to the event.
    I think it's an insult, what was done on the premise of being a tribute to our troops. That's just a joke. Am I a prude? Maybe, I guess I don't really care - I am who I am. As for the strippers, to each his own, but if I have spare time and spare money, the last thing I'm going to do is stick it in someone's pants.

    7:01 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Lori,
    I don't consider myself a prude at all, and I would have been uncomfortable with what you have described.
    Also, the hotel fiasco is unconscionalbe (sp?) I think you have chosen an appropriate venue to express your dismay-your peer group of writers and readers.
    I do envy you seeing Brenda Jackson-what a sweetheart, and her BOOKS (swoon).
    I am so glad you got back home safely.
    Lynne Thomas

    7:20 AM  
    Anonymous Tammy said...

    Welcome home Lori,

    As you know I couldn't get there due to mom being sick. But I have had reports from others that are identical to yours. Makes me glad I wasn't there in a way (even though I really missed meeting you and the others!).

    If I can ever get to one of the conventions it's so I can meet the authors and readers, and maybe ogle models NOT watch strip acts/feigned sex acts etc in public. I want to see something like that I'll ask my SO to attend and do it behind closed doors thank you very much.

    I had one person report on that party you mention about the "cavemen" apparently the folks hosting the party decided to outsource the entertainment, the preview they were given by those folks did NOT match what actually happened on stage or so I'm told. The sponsors are reportedly mortified at what happened.

    As for the hotel - the construction surprised me I THOUGHT it was supposed to be done or at least the parts used by RT would be done. The price may be lower, but that would be soooooooooo....words fail me, at least words I'd use lets put it like that. Heck up here the lowest rooms are like $179 for the new place that just opened small hotel(200 rooms i believe) but huge convention center attached. The Marriott which we also have and I've stayed at is around the same price, heck we've got so many hotels in one are I can't even begin to tell you how many. Now I grant you it's possible none have around the 1,000 rooms that were needed for this convention, but there would have been no construction going on. If the construction/remodel isn't done, you can't access that area. The hotel closes it totally off.

    I'm hoping that the next time RT does a convention in PA it's closer to Lake Erie (and me), and things go a LOT more smoothly.

    7:32 AM  
    Blogger Jayne Ann Krentz said...

    Lori: I agree with you: There is a big difference between the romance genre and the erotica genre. I think most writers and readers understand it intuitively but I doubt that the general public does. Therefore the sort of goings-on you describe can send a really unfortunate message.

    I know some of the erotica authors. Wonder how they felt about some of the over-the-top stuff you describe? I must remember to ask them when I see them at RWA this year (which, I can guarantee you, will be a LOT more tame and far more professional!!!!)

    8:15 AM  
    Blogger Laura said...

    Lori, The GOOD part sounds wonderful. The BAD & UGLY...unacceptable. To hold a convention in a construction zone - geez, what were they thinking?

    If I was to attend an RT convention, I would expect to meet as many authors as possible since this would be my purpose. And rather than going to balls I'd be in my room reading. heh. Glad you're back Lori.

    8:34 AM  
    Blogger gina said...

    I, too, have heard the horror stories about this con, and I'm with you...it's appalling that adults would behave this way. I will also say that you're a better woman than me, since I would have stood up and made a scene about the disrespect to the flag (and subsequently, our country). As the daughter and wife of veterans, I take the respect that is due our soldiers - past and present - very seriously.

    And as for the hotel, I think I would write a letter to the corporate offices (and cc the hotel manager) in regards to the state of the hotel and the way you were treated. Holy cow!

    On the flip side, though, sounds like you've got some GREAT fodder for a future book! *g*

    8:52 AM  
    Anonymous Janice Maynard said...

    Lori - As you know, I got sick soon after arriving at the hotel (wonder why!)... so I showed up at parties only at the beginning. I had no idea that any "stripping", flag or otherwise went on! I am appalled. My first RT was 2006, and I had heard that RT was making a real effort to make the conference a "family friendly" atmosphere. In another words, fun to see the handsome models, but no lewd stuff.

    I guess I'll count myself lucky that I missed out on all that.

    Janice
    Who is finally able to breathe again...

    9:05 AM  
    Blogger Lynn said...

    The Bad: While it sounds as if both the hotel and conference planners dropped the ball (sorry, couldn't resist) I would be more apt to blame the hotel for the bulk of this particular fiasco (especially construction) as opposed to the conference planners.

    I've been on several small conference program committees and once the facility has your money and a firm (ha-ha) date it is almost impossible to back out. RT may have been told the remodeling would (a) be finished, (b) not bother the attendees, (c) minimal, and/or (d) confined to a small area of the hotel. Once this happens, it is all downhill and should be handled with a large helping of customer service and smiling faces from both the hotel and the conference planners.

    I would hazard a guess that with all of the road construction in the burgh this time of year (orange barrel season), the cost of the cab was less annoying than the time it took you to get from point "a" to point "b." They are blowing up mountains north of the city, be glad you weren't going that direction.

    The Ugly: Sounds as if it was in very bad taste. Here's hoping the plan was for something fun and campy that simply was lost in translation.

    So sorry to blather on ...

    9:09 AM  
    Blogger Laura said...

    I was reading another blog on this topic and have to share a comment the writer made:
    "There's just not enough hand sanitizer to get me to go to RT."
    LMAO!

    9:13 AM  
    Blogger DFender said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    10:23 AM  
    Blogger DFender said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    10:31 AM  
    Blogger DFender said...

    Geez. I'm a posting-moron today.

    Lori,

    Sorry, that was my delete. I forgot to answer a question... LOL. Good GOD. All THATTT?? Sheesh. I'm exhausted just reading about all of it.

    Your questions:
    So... wouldn't you have been peeved, too? Absolutely. Hotel and convention reservation screw ups, unfortunately, aren't uncommon, but VERY frustrating.

    Would you enjoy seeing some stripped down buff male models in a competition? At a conference about romance fiction? Uhm. No. If I were at a strip club? Of course. I have nothing against hot male nakedness. I prefer it in private, but if I were going somewhere expecting to see it, such as said strip club, hoooyahh.

    Would you enjoy seeing MORE models being openly fondled and oohed over by women? Again, not at a romantic fiction conference. It's not the AVN's for cripe's sakes.

    But that's me, so I'm asking you - readers and authors alike - what do you think?
    I think that RT should combine with the AVN awards and present information as it's advertised. I think that anyone wanting to attend an erotic convention should. I think anyone attending a romance based convention should get what's advertised... romance and all that goes with it. Erotica is great, but erotica and romance are NOT the same thing.

    Is this your type of thing, or has the RT convention gone overboard? As I've said, I'd consider it overboard for how it's billed. If one wanted to attend an event with near-naked men and fondling, one should have been made aware ahead of time. Like I said, anyone going into a strip club knows what to expect. A romantic fiction event? Not so much. Ack.

    If you could dictate the convention, what would you get rid of, what would you have more of, and what would be your FAVORITE and LEAST FAVORITE part of a reader & author event?
    I've never been to an author/reader event. I'm not very social...lol... lotsa people put me on edge. BUT if I were attending I'd expect opportunities to meet/greet favorite authors as well as listen to speeches on topics that interest me. As I'm not an aspiring (or successful) author, I'd not be interested in workshops, but I'm sure others would and it would be an appropriate forum, I'd think. Naked dudes? Frope (fondle & grope)Fest? Groin exhibition? Gah. Not at a reader/writer event. Iew. It'd be like going to a seafood restaurant and finding only ice cream on the menu. Love both but, hey, timing is everything.

    I'm sorry that there were so many pitfalls, Lori, for you and others of the industry. It's great you were able to meet 'n greet so many nice people though... shuttle-weary or not... lol.

    Relax! for the weekend ;-)

    Deb

    10:35 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sounds like the convention from Hell! First of all the construction at the hotel is inexcusable. If the hotel was aware well in advance of the convention, it is their obligation to provide a clean, safe venue. The convention organizers need to stand up to the hotel and demand a product that meets basic standards of accommodation and meetings, etc. You indicated that once the hotel has your money you are pretty much stuck. If this is a national chain, they are not likely to want the bad publicity this type of venue would generate. I would suggest a very strongly worded complaint directed to the hotel general manager, the hotel chain corporate office with a cc to the local newspaper and/or TV stations. That cc will get their attention.

    They should be refunding someone's money for providing that type of accommodations. I work in the travel industry and if a hotel did that to a convention I was coordinating they would be finding me an alternate site for the entire venue at their expense.

    I also think you and your like minded fellow attendees should send a message to RT that should the type of behavior and activities that occurred at this event continue in the future, there will be a lot less authors attending their convention. When they start losing big name authors unless they are living in an alternate universe, that should wake them up. Also, once they start losing the authors, who is going to want to attend? I wouldn't. Why go to a pricey convention and then not even get to see any of my favorite authors.

    If I was an author, which unfortunately I am not-only a reader, I would not like my name associated with anything of this nature.

    Venting here is a good thing. Judging by the responses received so far, there are a lot of people who agree with you. I'm sure there are a lot of authors who would also agree with you. Band together. There is always more clout with numbers to back it up!

    I like some erotica books, but I want to read about it, not see it. I have been to strip clubs and while it was a hoot to me, I certainly wouldn't expect to see that type of behavior at a romantic books convention. Anything desicrating the U.S. flag is a big no-no to me. It stands for 232 years of freedom and struggles and should not be demeaned in such a manner.

    Sorry to carry on so long, but being involved in the tourism/visitor industry, I hate to hear tales of hotels taking advantage of an organization. Like you with your career, I don't want my industry to be portrayed as sleazy, incompetant, or even dangerous.

    Kathy H

    12:21 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Laurie, you are not a prude - but you're a respectable woman. THere's a diff. :-) And I love ya bunches, and agree 100%. I was so busy during the signing, I didn't hear the vulgarities being said, but there was a woman sitting beside, not an author but - from what I heard - a reader waiting for the author. And she told in the GREATEST detail how her new boyfriend spanks her. LOL
    I was trying NOT to hear as I signed bookplates for the Australian booksellers. But she was loud about it, sort of bragging, and yeah, it almost made my eyes cross. What someone does in private in her own business. But it announcing it to God and sundry sort of took me by surprise!

    Lynn, isn't Brenda a doll? So mega talented and still so gracious. I really, really enjoyed meeting her.

    Lori

    12:24 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Tammy, I don't see me going to any more RT conventions. Sad, because I enjoyed them in the past. But I've heard a lot of authors say this was it for them.

    Jayne and Susan - if RWA wasn't so dang far away for me, and if I wasn't already behind on my book, and tired of travel, I'd make it. NExt year I hope to, since I won't be doing RT.

    Thank you for your responses!

    Lori

    12:28 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Laura, that's what I usually do - dart into my room during downtime and read! But this time, the hotel was too far away.

    Gina, I wasn't there for the strip show with the flag. Remember, I skipped all the balls. ;-) But it was the talk of the town and I got more than enough reports on it.
    Also, I can't write about the hotel because I didn't stay there. I got booted to the Omni. :-( Blah.

    Lori

    12:30 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Deb and Kathy, thank you for your detailed answers.
    I do think separating a romance convention from an erotica convention would help.
    I saw condom suckers at the bookfair, and the last time I went, there were chocolate dildos.
    I swear, I'm too old! LOL

    So yeah, unless it becomes strictly a romance convention, I'll be skipping them. Not that I have anything against erotica, but they are two very, very different genres.

    Hugs to all!

    Lori

    12:36 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Since I live in Pittsburgh, I didn't have to deal with hotel screwups, but I heard plenty about it. I don't know who bears the blame - the hotel, who apparently lied about the status of the construction, or the planners, who should have known better. They'll be lucky to finish that job by the end of the year, and everyone here knows that.

    I kept apologizing - and I will again - for my city. Please don't let the Hilton mess give you a bad impression - it's really a beautiful city.

    This was my 3rd RT, and each one skews further away from traditional romance and towards porn. I know they call it Erotica, and I have no objection to it, but it's porn. They ought to be more upfront about that - maybe fewer people would be offended.

    As far as insulting the flag and the strip shows - I missed them. I was lucky enough to spend time with author and reader friends, and we pretty much skipped the balls. heh.

    Lori - a lot of authors made the same comments you did - which probably means that next year, it will get even racier, as more traditional authors opt out.

    Which is a shame, because for readers, it means fewer opportunities to visit with our favorites.

    It was great to meet you - I've been a fan forever, and I was so happy to find that you are just as nice in person as I'd hoped.

    Kathy Sweeney

    2:10 PM  
    Blogger patricia sargeant said...

    Lori, thank you for providing a wonderfully balanced coverage of the event - what you enjoyed, what frustrated you and what you really could have done without. I've heard quite a bit about this year's RT and, overall, I'm glad I gave it a pass. I'm not great with crowds anyway, and RT ... would have scared me. LOL!

    3:50 PM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    Lori: I, too, would have been really ticked about the hotel under construction and the fact RT bumped you to another, if better, hotel.

    As far as the RT conference itself: Let's just say not in this lifetime!

    Thanks for the report: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
    ~EG

    7:45 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Kathy! Pittsburgh on the whole - the people, skyscapes, flowers, weather - it was lovely! Every restaurant I went to was friendly, the taxi drivers were great, and the Mystery Lover's Bookstore was FABULOUS!
    I left with a wonderful impression of the city and the folks there!

    Hugs,

    Lori

    7:50 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Thanks Patricia. I tried to be fair and mention all the things I loved, loved, loved too!
    If I didn't mention the bookfair, I should have! HUGE. Tons of lovely readers. Lots of friendly booksellers. It was definitely a highlight!

    Sue, thanks for understanding!

    Lori

    7:51 PM  
    Blogger Kate Douglas said...

    I write erotic romance and was not at RT--I made the decision not to go after last year for a number of reasons, but it was also partially due to a lot of behavior that made me uncomfortable. I haven't attended any of the parties or events for the past couple years because they tend to be so loud and over the top. To answer Jayne Ann Krentz's question--my personal feelings are that as an author of sexually explicit stories, my behavior needs to be above reproach. The last thing I want to do is give anyone the impression that I am crass or uncouth or that I appreciate or even condone the sort of behavior I've heard about at this year's RT. I'm an author and it's important that I act like a professional--especially in a public venue.

    Even though my stories are erotic, the characters in my books exhibit all the attributes of honor and integrity of any romance hero--too many of the models who give our covers "faces" don't seem to appreciate how a "romance hero" should act. A lot of the male models are classy, intelligent men, but the ones who aren't put the entire romance industry in a bad light. It's embarrassing to see men AND woman behaving badly at a conference. Maybe it's my age--I'm just a couple years shy of sixty and possibly I'm getting stuffy (Gawd, I hope not!)--but unless things change, I don't see myself attending RT in the future.

    Lori, thanks for the great post. I can't believe the stories I've heard about the hotel, but even worse, I can't understand why better accommodations were not made by RT--they had to have known well in advance that the place would not be ready. That conference is too expensive to put up with that sort of fiasco.

    And on that note, I am REALLY looking forward to your gathering in June!

    7:55 PM  
    Blogger Jayne Ann Krentz said...

    Kate: Jayne, here. Had a hunch that would be your opinion! Hope to see you at RWA!!!

    --Jayne

    8:10 PM  
    Blogger Kate Douglas said...

    Hi from Cobb, Jayne! I will be there. The stories I'm hearing about RT have really bothered me. That used to be the best conference--lots of good fun and a great chance to connect with readers. I'm just not comfortable with the way things have gotten at all.

    See you in SF!

    kate

    8:14 PM  
    Blogger talpianna said...

    This sounds like a sort of parallel to what has happened to SF and fantasy cons since media fandom began to dominate them. But the misbehavior is usually on the part of the fans, not the people running the con. It depends a lot on how good the con committee is, and how well the hotel works with them. I believe a lot of cons now have people working security (dressed as Imperial Stormtroopers or Klingons) to stop small problems from getting too large. Hotels usually forgive fans their trespasses after they get a good look at the bar bills, but I believe one hotel barred Boskone permanently some years ago.

    I don't know how profitable an RT con is for the hotels. As I've said, SF fans tend to spend a lot at the bar. But I cannot IMAGINE their screwing up the hotel reservation of an author of Lori's stature!

    Who runs these things? SF cons are run by committees of the local fans and are usually well organized--especially the ones that take place at the same venue annually. From my friend Ed's descriptions, it looks like there is a Mad Hatter's Tea Party effect--Worldcons are now so huge that it's the regional cons that people attend for the meeting and greeting they used to be able to do at Worldcons; and the local and state cons are now the place for the sort of events that used to go on at regionals. "Clean cup! clean cup! Everybody move down one!"

    When I attended my first MLA in NYC, they never confirmed my reservation; and I couldn't find anyone in the MLA suite to tell me where I was supposed to stay! Fortunately, I had an aunt and uncle living in NYC who took me in; and I was able to get my room the next day--in a decrepit old hotel, next to the freight elevator.

    But I was an impecunious job-hunting grad student, not a major author!

    The second one I attended was in Denver and was a logistical nightmare.

    It sounds to me as though the RT people simply don't know how to run a con. Any decent SF con committee would have been able to blackmail a hotel that put people up in an area with ongoing construction to refund at least a part of the price of the room.

    And I don't know about RT, but the masquerades at SF cons are fabulous! There are a lot of professional costumers in fandom, and people work on their Worldcon costumes all year.

    8:36 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Lori: I agree with you: There is a big difference between the romance genre and the erotica genre.

    There's also a big difference between the erotica genre and the porn genre. All have their place. This was not one of those places for all three.

    Lynne Thomas

    9:49 PM  
    Blogger Stella said...

    Lori: The U-Tube snippet is great. You did so well to get the message across that quickly and clearly.

    Nope--none of that stuff for me. I was too old for offensive public displays when I was born, imagine how even the thought of them makes me feel now.

    The American Flag deserves respect.

    Reasons for going to a conference: to see readers old and new, writers old and new, and publishing types old and new. I take the smiles and good feelings home with me and have learned to leave anything negative behind.

    At at RT convention in Dallas I got broken glass in my breakfast. The hotel manager could not have cared less. He offered to pay for a cab to take me to a doctor "If you think that's necessary."

    My initial concern was for the oatmeal (with glass in it) not be served to others. Again, blank stared.

    The hotel reeked of mold... But that's another story.

    I hope there will be enough comments--directly to RT--to help them work out these problems at future conferences.

    Lori, I'm sad you went through this. Who needs the stress?

    Stella

    10:38 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Kate, you are a doll! Whatever you write, you always represent our profession in the best possible way -you're friendly, smart and professional. :-) I'm so, so glad you're a part of my and Dianne's June gathering!

    Big smooches,

    Lori

    4:31 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Hey Tal,
    You brought up a point that I'd like to clarify. I did NOT feel like I'm "LORI FOSTER" and therefore deserved anything. I felt like I was an attendee, already registered, and because of THAT (not any clout as a known author) deserved what I was supposed to get - a room at the conference hotel.
    I understand overflow problems, I really do. It happens. But to have folks get rooms who registered AFTER me isn't right.
    And IMO, it just wasn't handled as it should have been. By cancelling me, it left an impression with everyone that *I* had cancelled.

    So for my personal frustration, that was what bothered me.

    When Brenda Jackson and I were talking, we discussed how we're still just us, in our minds and in our worlds, just women who are the same as any other. JC Wilder put it in a blog, and it was hilarious.
    One of her friends wanted to be intro'd to me, and JC wasn't sure what she was talking about.
    She thought, "It's just Lori."
    JC knows me so well, that she knows I'm more a mom and wife and friend than an author.

    I enjoy my success in this industry, but I would never think it elevated me over anyone else.

    Hope all that rambling made sense! I'm out the door to do one last speaking gig - until mid May at least. LOL
    Oh, and I do have a radio show bookclub appearance to put in too. But that'll be all fun, not planned chatting.

    Lori

    4:37 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Lynne, that's it exactly! And whatever someone writes, Kate made a great point. Shouldn't we still be professional, and take into consideration the reaction of everyone present!?

    Stella, glass in your oatmeal!? Ohmigosh! That's pretty darned horrible. I can't imagine.

    Lori

    4:38 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    the ugly part sounds like something Paris would arrange "snort" if you believe the tabloids ha :)

    6:47 AM  
    Blogger Kate Douglas said...

    Thanks Lori, and if you don't mind, I'd like to make one comment in reply to this post:

    "There's also a big difference between the erotica genre and the porn genre. All have their place. This was not one of those places for all three.

    Lynne Thomas"

    Please, don't confuse the genre with the author who writes it. Just because I write erotic paranoraml romance does not mean I am my characters or that their morality in any way, shape or form, mimics my reality. As any author, I write from my imagination and a well of creativity that, so far, has not disappointed me. Authors of all genres are perfectly capable of mingling and exchanging ideas at the same conference while still acting professional--we do it at RWA Nationals every year. I would venture to say it wasn't just authors of erotica behaving badly at RT--it was a combination of attendees, both readers and authors of all genres as well as SOME cover models, who cast such a poor light on the industry as a whole. I am not the books I write, and even if I were, my characters pride themselves on their personal integrity, their sense of honor and the love they feel for their packmates. Not bad rules for anyone to live by.

    11:22 AM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    Kate Douglas said: I am not the books I write, and even if I were, my characters pride themselves on their personal integrity, their sense of honor and the love they feel for their packmates. Not bad rules for anyone to live by.

    Bravo! Hear, hear! Well said, Kate!
    ~EG

    12:13 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Hey Kate, I think you took offense where none was intended.
    I see a huge difference in the reaction to the genres. I agree, at RWA it's different because that's an "all business" venue. But RT is meant for entertainment, and what's appropriate for mystery, Sci-fi, horror, romance or erotica can vary a LOT. That was the point I'm sure Lynne was making.
    There were a lot of readers who enjoyed the entertainment - but I bet it wasn't straight romance readers, and I wouldn't say it was all inappropriate (except for the bit with the flag) - only inappropriate in that there was a mixed audience there, and some were NOT expecting it.

    As Lynne said, all genres have their place, but a conference that caters to the readers and strives to entertain them might not be the best place to mix it up. ;-)

    Hugs,

    Lori

    3:33 PM  
    Blogger Kate Douglas said...

    I didn't take offense at all, but I still disagree. We're all authors and in many cases, share the same readers. I've always loved the chance to talk books and meet readers at RT--and I would venture to say that the readers who like my books are also fans of every other kind of romance out there.

    I think the tone of the RT conference has changed a lot in the past few years, but I'm not willing to put that purely on authors of erotic romance. (As far as the reference to porn, that has no place at all at a conference for romance readers) I do, however, think there is way too much emphasis on the erotic element, and I'm not sure how to control that. I'd love to see it changed so that all attendees feel comfortable at the conference. I don't, which is why I'm choosing to attend the smaller ones this year.

    It all comes down to personal behavior--a lot of the authors who attend yours and Dianne's gathering write erotic romance, yet I have never heard ANYTHING negative about your gathering. It's not the genre the authors write that determines how people act--it's the tone of the conference. When you've got a class act, people generally know that's how they're expected to behave.

    3:45 PM  
    Anonymous Shelley said...

    Lori said, "There were a lot of readers who enjoyed the entertainment - but I bet it wasn't straight romance readers"

    I'm trying not to take this as a condemnation of the morality and behavior of erotic romance readers, but that is how it sounds.

    I believe it was largely "straight" romance readers behaving badly. The women fondling cover models in elevators weren't kinky "types", they were YOUR readers too Lori.

    If you shut erotic romance out of RT the same things will still happen next year unless the conference organizers do things differently.

    It's not about a genre, it's about individual behavior and creating an atmosphere where anything goes, and RT organizers could prevent it by setting a higher standard.

    5:27 PM  
    Blogger talpianna said...

    STELLA: If the glass-in-the-oatmeal incident had happened at a well-run SF con, you would have reported it to the con committee, which would come down on the hotel like a ton of bricks, and threatened them with the Health Department if they didn't fix the problem immediately.

    LORI: I didn't mean that YOU thought you should have superior treatment because of your status; I meant that famous authors like you are a big draw for the con, and they ought to make a point of doing their best to make you happy so you'd want to come back next year. They should have taken better care of you out of their own self-interest, not to cater to your ego. And see what happened when they didn't--you decided not to come back.

    P.S. Is it just me, or are the word verification letters getting a lot harder to read?

    5:42 PM  
    Blogger Kate Douglas said...

    It's not just you, talpianna! It's taking me forever and at least three tries to get them figured out! The captchas are starting to feel like gotchas!

    5:52 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Thanks Tal, that was my feeling exactly - that every attendee with a registration should have been honored - at least before new attendees were given rooms.

    Shelley, if that's the impression I gave you, I said it wrong. Some of my very dear friends write erotica and I respect them and their talents a lot.
    But it was an erotica publisher who brought in the entertainment that "went awry." So I figured the publisher had to know what her readers wanted.
    If you tell me the publisher was the one at fault, I'll take your word on that! I'm not real familiar or acquainted with them.
    But once that "risque entertainment" was there, then yes, it's anyone's guess who latched on and possibly went overboard.

    I still think that erotica and romance have very different readers. Of course there will be some readers who enjoy both, but overall, they draw a different audience, imo.

    Not good or bad - just different.
    IF that's the type of entertainment enjoyed, then it should be separated. If that was an aberration and bad judgement on the part of the publisher, then I hope it's not repeated again next year.

    And please recall, that incident was only a small part of the things that went wrong at the convention.
    Also the things that went wrong didn't overshadow the GREAT things - like meeting up with friends, the awesome booksigning, meeting new readers, connecting with booksellers, etc...

    Cheers to all talented authors, and the readers who enjoy them.

    Lori

    7:23 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have been attending RT cons for many years, but nearly stopped two years ago, and after all the drama of this con, I don't see myself attending again.

    In past conventions, I witnessed two sexual acts in the public areas of the hotel bar in recent years. One of these involved a very popular author's husband or consort (I get the two of them confused, since she travels with both), while she sat and egged him on. At various parties, staff members from various publishers were engaging in such activities as breast licking, boot licking, and bumping and grinding. A guest at the hotel was brushed with a whip wielded by one of these professionals, which then brought a welt up. There were genital shaped chocolates and sweets being peddled in the public areas of the hotel, near the elevator and the check in desk. The models are probably following the stellar behavior of this handful of not so professionals who have made the conference trashy.

    Lori, the pictures you posted of the models at the Pittsburgh con show some of the "Cavemen". The very tall very muscular man and the AA man are theirs. The mentally ill man was not. The very tall man was a gentleman to everyone I know or saw him with.

    I found the backstabbing and back biting of some authors and staff members of other publishers even more unprofessional than the less than model behavior of the young men. A true lady should never express her displeasure at a publisher rejection by speaking of an editor by using the crude language I heard over and over again. Some people seemed to have clear agendas and vendettas and peppered their language with four letter words for body parts best kept in the bedroom, mocking physical challenges of these people, and even attacking their looks and clothing choices.

    I would prefer that the models be kept to a minimum, but that is at RT's discretion. They have always had male models peddling the crowd for as long as I have been going and Fabio was just an up and comer.

    Moreover, I would like to see some class come back to this event. The worst offenders were not the erotica publishers themselves, but the ones who seemed jealous of their success or authors who had sour grapes, loud mouths, and displayed a distinct lack of class.

    8:49 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    TalP: Boskone was barred from ALL hotels within the city limits of Boston, for a period of 10 years, and has just recently returned. Everyone was on their best behavior for that, you can be sure. :-) The reason for the expulsion had less to do with bad behavior, and more to do with 10-20 students each sharing a hotel room, with only one person registered, so the doors were jammed open, the hotel services were maxed out, and it was a huge fire and safety risk.

    I was at this year's RT, and the guy who got arrested was a Mr. Romance contestant. He threatened the lives of both the winner of the competition and the competition organizer.

    In my opinion, the tone of the RT conference went downhill once attendees were allowed to ask EXTREMELY personal questions of the Mr. Romance contestants at the panel interview a few years ago. Some of the guys -- nice guys, by the way -- were appalled and horrified by the questions about their personal sex lives, sexual experiences, etc. From what I heard, those same sorts of questions (one was what nicknames they'd given their penises) were asked this year, too.

    One of the RT organizers said they gave the contestants a secret signal to flash if they were ever in a situation that was making them too uncomfortable, and an RT staffer would come rescue them.

    It was also attendees that were demonstrating flogging in the bar, or were actively engaged in D/s behavior at one of the meals. Again, totally inappropriate behavior. The catchphrase of BDSM is "Safe, Sane and Consensual". Well, the other attendees forced to witness these actions were not consenting to be part of them. So for the individuals involved to perpetrate such actions is the worst kind of sexual exhibitionism.

    Yes, some of the models and Mr. Romance contestants engaged in inappropriate actions -- but they wouldn't have, if it hadn't been encouraged by attendees who looked as if they were trying out for a reality tv series on "Romance Readers Gone Wild" rather than coming together to celebrate the books we all love.

    9:11 PM  
    Blogger Deanne said...

    I have never been to an RT con and after hearing so many negative things about this one I probably won't ever be going.
    Lori, I am a reader of both romance & erotic romance, however the things that you mentioned are not appropriate for a con imo.
    I agree with Kate that both should be able to be represented at the same con without these kind of happenings, but it does depend on the people responsible.
    The whole thing is just unfortunate because of how it reflects on the romance genre as a whole.
    On a happier note, I am trying to convince my Mom to go to your get together so hopefully I'll see you and all the other Authors real soon!

    9:32 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Wow. I really appreciate all the great feedback.

    Shelley and Kate (and anyone else I'm missing) - I thought about your comments a lot after I went to bed last night. And the more I thought about it, the more I totally see your point.

    One of my issues is some of the over-the-top promo material passed out at RT. I'm a big believer in "to each her own," but for my event, I've always specified (because of things I saw at RT) that promo material be PG rated. I have NEVER censored anyone's books. They're all welcome. But stuff like the chocolate dildos or condom suckers, or some of the very suggestive buttons, I've requested be excluded.
    (I just woke up, so I hope that made sense.)

    The erotica authors I know and count as friends sometimes have that type of promo material, but never to the extent I've seen at RT, or what some of you have described.

    These ladies are very professional in the presentation of their work - actually, in all things they do. None of them, to my knowledge, were involved with any of the over-the-top happenings at RT.

    So I'm changing my mind - I DO think all genres can be represented at RT, but _only_ if RT will step up and give some clear-cut boundaries to one and all.

    I don't see them doing that any time soon because the erotica entertainment part has become the big (pardon me) thrust of the con.
    From my view - and I happily admit I could be wrong again LOL - it appears that a LOT of $s come from the more risque erotica publishers/authors, one in particular.

    The only way things will change at RT is if those offended by such things speak out about it, and make it clear to RT that they don't want to take part.
    -- please note, I'm only offended in the fact that this is a representation of authors and readers in general. What someone writes, and what they enjoy privately, is their own business. But a lot of press shows at the convention, and sometimes they get an eyeful, or an earful. I was sort of embarrassed that the audio and video guys who shot the interview thing for lifetime.com saw & heard so much.

    Unfortunately, many, many authors have told me that they don't want to rock the boat for fear of getting slammed in the RT magazine or deliberately low ratings on reviews. I REALLY can't imagine RT doing that. In my experience, throughout my entire career, I've never seen proof of RT offering anything less than a legitimate review based on the reviewer's perception of the book.

    It's also my feeling that RT cares what attendees think, and would try to satisfy the majority. But they can't do that if they don't know what the majority wants.

    The cover model contest/party is huge for them. If they can keep that clean fun by giving guidelines as to what can be asked, with a "no-touching" rule, it should remain good clean fun.
    -- And even as I type that, I'm thinking what a shame it is that adult, mature women should have to be given guidelines on appropriate behavior! LOL

    Okay, I need to get writing today, so I'm signing off. I'll check back later for most posts.

    Again, ladies, thank you so much for your feedback, and your honest perceptions.

    Hugs to all!

    Lori

    3:55 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    All I can say is holy moly, Lori! Because RT was fairly close to home for me this year (a 5 hour drive) I really regretted not being able to go - until NOW ; ) Between the hotel situation and the lewd behavior (eek!) I'm glad I stayed home.

    I've only attended one RT (2005) and even then, the lewdness was a bit much for me. It wasn't nearly as bad (at least what I saw) as what you describe, but unpleasant enough. As you know, I write both traditional sexy romance under one name and erotica under another so, like you, I don't consider myself a prude, but yikes - what I write is FICTION, and I sure don't want to see it acted out in front of me. ; )

    I SO agree that people going to a romance conference should not have to be subjected to this sort of thing. Yeesh.

    Toni Blake

    6:03 AM  
    Blogger Kate Douglas said...

    Toni, IMHO, you've nailed it perfectly. We write FICTION--we give the sex in our stories a truly romantic spin, we create a world where the behavior we write about is acceptable and not at all prurient or nasty, but when you see people acting in a way that can only be described as lewd, it's just embarrassing. That's the only way I can describe it. (Damn, I really DO sound old!)

    And thanks, Lori. I agree there shouldn't have to be but NEED to be limits set at RT if they want to represent the industry as a whole. We work so hard at trying to gain respect for our stories--ALL romance stories--that I hate to see such a public display of inappropriate behavior--with the media in attendance, no less. All it does is feed the old perception that romances are sleazy bodice rippers.

    7:53 AM  
    Anonymous Janet Miller said...

    This was my sixth RT convention. I was staying in the hotel, I went to all of the parties although I usually left around eleven or so after which I would head for the bar to meet friends.

    I believe I was in a very good position to see most of the shenanigans folks are talking about.

    I saw none of this.

    I do know that the cover model arrested was not one of the Cavemen. He was part of the Mr. Romance competition and was someone with a history of mental difficulties.

    Apparently there was some entertainment later at the EC party that wasn't to people's taste. It was late so I had left. I didn't see that.

    The American Flag incident was a lip-sync to "God Bless the USA" that did not include stripping unless you think a man taking his shirt off is stripping. I was rolling my eyes at it but a lot of people seemed to like it.

    The rest of the official EC party entertainment is up on Youtube and you can see them for yourself. Just look for RT 2008. Big John does a dance and there is a skit with several of the guys to Greased Lightning.

    I write erotic and non-erotic romance. I behave myself at these conventions, I treat the cover models as fellow industry professionals and they treat me the same way.

    A convention is very much like that elephant in the room with 9 blind men. Each one experiences it in a different way depending on what part of the elephant they touch (rope, snake, tree-trunk, wall).

    As always I totally enjoyed myself and am already planning for next year.

    8:58 AM  
    Blogger Carolan Ivey said...

    Lori, I was just thinking the same thing about the expense of the conference vs. the experience. Every year I go it's the same - big bucks, terrible hotel. It's the most expensive con I attend, and from what I understand from friends I polled who go to other fan cons of all types, RT is by far the most expensive anywhere.

    Readers scrape their pennies together to pay more than $1500 (when you add up the hotel, the con fee, and transportation ALONE) just to be there and rub elbows with their favorite authors. For that amount of money, the least they should expect is a nice hotel with adequate facilities. I feel like the hotel staff did their very best with what they had to work with, which wasn't much.

    My husband travels to professional conferences all the time and he was shocked at my report at how inadequate the hotel was, for what I paid. Not having enough seating - or food - for events in the ballroom was inexecusable, IMO.

    JC and I were lucky that we got a pretty well finished room, except the hotel didn't have a refrigerator on reserve for us despite the fact we'd booked it months in advance for medical necessity. So there was the added expense of having to hit a Wally World to buy a minifridge.

    Overall, the good outweighs the bad. Who can put a price on the chance to mingle with old friends and new? But is it too much to expect a certain level of quality and service for the money we put out?

    11:04 AM  
    Blogger Anne said...

    Hi Lori,

    I'm sorry you had such a terrible time! That sucks! I wasn't there, but I've heard about the things that went on there. In no way, shape, or form should JC Wilder be labeled an "outcast" by Ellora's Cave by stating her opinion. She's got a right to it as do you! It's the first amendment after all. Anywho- Tacky. Pure and simple. Raunchy. But truthfully, as a reader, I used to buy a lot of books from them until they changed the quantity of books they were putting out which in turn changed the quality. Can you say porn? There are a few favorite authors who I will still buy from because I know they put out quality books, but honestly, I avoid EC the majority of the time. It doesn't surprise me that they carried out such raunchy behavior when their behavior in other areas is just the same.

    You know, none of this would have happened at a Lori Foster event! :-) That's what you call a QUALITY event.

    12:31 PM  
    Blogger talpianna said...

    Anonymous re: Boskone--We are thinking of totally different events, as the one I'm recalling reading about happened a lot more than ten years ago; I think it was in the late 60s or 70s.

    LORI and others: It sounds like the only cure for the RT convention is mitosis: a split into two different cons, one for romance and one for erotica. If this happens, I wonder which will be the more successful in the future? I'd guess it would be not so much the genre but the organization that wins out--a well-run con with fewer glitches and less expensive to attend will attract repeat attendees.

    7:16 PM  
    Blogger Ranurgis said...

    I'm appalled at what has become of the RT convention and glad that I didn't try to spend hard-to-come-by money on such a travesty.

    I went to the Toronto RT Convention in 1999 and thoroughly enjoyed myself at the events that I took part in. I too had to commute to the hotel, but that was my choice. I knew that I couldn't stand 4 days and nights of constant noise and togetherness since I had already been on chronic illness disability for 4 years by that time. I chose to bypass the balls--I'm never good in a huge crowd anyway. And I'm certainly not in favor of the shenanigans that went on this year. I'm not aware of anything of the kind in Toronto--just lots of fun especially with authors, time that I will always treasure.

    But that was 1999 and a lot of more erotic books have been published since then and the whole outlook and look of society have changed. Just the bras which show half a girl's or woman's breast are examples. I've also read erotica in my time and enjoy sexy scenes as long as they don't read like a sex manual, or that sex and love are called synonymous. To me, they will never be that: sex is a bodily function which can only be a part of love if the appropriate non-bodily, emotional part is involved. There are enough people in love who are never able to have sex.

    And to have people "groping" me--male or female!?! Forget it. I had to suffer it once as a teenager from a photographer before I could subtly evade him. I said to myself, "Never again." It has to be consensual and in private. I'm not putting on a show, nor do I want to be provided with one.

    I can only imagine your frustration with the hotel. Maybe in a sense you were lucky not to be there, but I think the hotel should provide refunds. I would dare to say that the hotel is more responsible for that than RT. That said, however, I blame RT for the so-called entertainment. It should not come down to women, readers or authors, behaving in such a manner just because they've gotten away from home for a while. I wouldn't be able to respect myself for any of that kind of behavior.

    But then, I'm of an older generation. With what is presented in the media today, I can see why people would think that anything is allowed and allowable these days. I just have to think of the ads for "Baby Mama" to feel like throwing up the way the mama-to-be does. That's supposed to be funny? Sorry, I don't get it. And people spitting everywhere, even in food courts? Is it just because athletes do it?

    I'd better stop venting myself. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience at the convention, Lori. But it will make me think thrice before I go to one again. Were there others who were "canceled" at the Hilton? Rather a reader than an author, in my view, should have been moved.

    9:59 PM  
    Blogger Ranurgis said...

    Oh, and Lori, I'm with you too about not being able to explain why I do or don't enjoy something. People have been asking me that about romances for years. I was also abysmal at explaining the writing in classic literature: why was it good, what did the author obtain that effect or another? I'm glad to discover that I'm not the only one with this handicap.

    10:04 PM  
    Blogger Gennita said...

    Hi Lori,

    I'm sorry about your misadventures! It's awful having to travel from one hotel to another.

    The Hilton Hotel at Pittsburgh was the pits. I'm still trying to get over the skin and throat rash from breathing in plaster dust and sawdust on my floor. I've never seen a hotel in such disarray.

    As for your questions, I have attended RT for many, many years, both as reader and then author. RT, to me, is more like a festival than a true convention, esp. at night, with its SPONSORED balls. Each ball is sponsored by different authors/publishers.

    So a party sponsored by an erotica publisher would, to me, mean a party celebrating eroticism. Therefore, clothing themes tend to be a the risque end of things. Yes, there are authors who are uncomfortable with the in-your-face stuff happening in the late hours. I think it's a mixture of alcohol and certainly--a few--willing young men. I don't know what RT could do about that, other than to state, as it does, its policy that all male models must behave like gentlemen. But how do you police that at midnight, when most RT staff, who are mostly volunteers, have slunk off to bed after an exhaustive day?

    The responsibility, then, falls on the sponsors of the party, but they also don't have the authority to stop some drunk women propositioning men in elevators either. You and I could say, then eliminate the Ellora's Cavemen, but why would they, when the ECavemen calendar is a sellout favorite of the attendees? They are there to promote the calendar and the lines for their autographs rivaled those of very popular authors during their personal signing.

    If I have to give advice about going to RT, I'd simply say look at the calendar of events. The day events held by authors--the morning get-togethers, the afternoon margaritas, the fun private parties--are just as you'd expect, with authors and readers mingling and talking about said authors' books. The NIGHT events aren't promotional; they are Mardi-gras like festivals. A party sponsored by EC or any erotica publisher would have certain erotica (and sexier) themes. A party sponsored by the wonderful Heather Graham is usually the vampire ball, with a more monsters and mystery dinner fun, with very little emphasis on models, except maybe one year when they were selling charity dances. Many attendees pick and choose the balls they wish to attend, some opting not to go at all because they're either tired out from the smaller day parties, or because they don't like loud music/partying. Some attend all of them ;-) and I admire their amazing energy.

    The best thing about RT, for me, is the chance to talk to readers one-on-one at the Club RT room and also to have personal time with booksellers. The panels also give a broad perspective of what the romance genre is today--where would I find Heather Graham, Barry Eisler and Alexandra Sokoloff giving a panel on romance and killing? The night time, with its reputed wildness, is just one other facet of the RT experience, that's all, and everyone's mileage may vary about each of the events.

    to be fair, this year's 25th anniversary event drew the biggest crowd I've seen in all the years of my attendance. The hotel sucked big donkey balls and I'll forever make fun of it on my blog, but I have to commend RT organizer, Jo Carol Jones, for almost single-handed running it. I've never seen a more harder working woman (and her group of volunteers) sitting in the back room, calling on the phones, printing nametags, stuffing bags, and trying to locate lost boxes. I have to say this because I spent quite a lot of time this convention in that back room looking for a certain box and observing Jo Carol at large just made me want to give her a national holiday.

    Yikes. I think I matched the length of your blog! My apologies. I just wanted to put in my two cents because I want to assure readers that RT isn't all about crude behavior.

    And come on, the OPEN SOURCE BOOB PROJECT, where a group of people, men and women, thought it would be so cool to fondle breasts in public, didn't happen at RT. It happened at Penguicon, a scifi and computer convention. A ton of shocked/disgusted/younameit bloggers gave their opinion of that. So there. Not just RT.

    Again, my apologies for the length, Lori! I'm sorry again about the horrid hotel experiences. We'll talk more (and laugh about the dust) at San Fran!

    Hugs,
    Jenn

    10:04 PM  
    Blogger Gina, Book Dragon said...

    Stripping and the American Flag DO.NOT. BELONG. TOGETHER. That said, maybe RT was trying too hard after the problems I heard about from last year?

    Registered early and bumped? unacceptable. Totally and completely unacceptable.

    As for the remodel going on, I can only shake my head and wonder what the ones in charge of picking out the place was thinking. Did they even visit the place first?


    As sad it is and not matter how much I want to meet some of my favorite authors, I'm glad I have not gone to a RT convention.


    Maybe RT needs two rooms, one mainstream and one erotica, so there will be fewer surprises.

    3:50 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Toni Blake, Elizabeth Scott, Madelyn Oh... many, many more, are all authors of erotica who are as professional as anyone can be.
    Thanks for posting, Toni.
    I think you would have been like me - you'd have enjoyed some parts a LOT, and been dismayed at other parts. It's always a balancing act, and this time it wasn't quite balanced. LOL

    Kate, you know, I don't really work hard to raise awareness of romance. I figure folks either like it or they don't, and if they don't, their loss. But that doesn't mean I want to take part in events that deliberately give the WRONG impression. ;-)
    I hope RT can find a balance.

    Lori - catching up on the last emails here today.

    4:26 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Janet, I'm so glad that you had an enjoyable experience and didn't view any of the negative stuff.
    As to taking off a shirt behind the American flag... I believe it was the hip gyrations AGAINST the flag, along with removing a shirt as a striptease, that crossed the line. Sure, if a guy just took his shirt off, no biggie. But that wasn't the case. ;-)

    I agree we all get our own experiences. For this con, my experiences were not good, and I did see a lot. Too much, sadly.

    Carolan, that's one of my major issues. This was by far the WORST hotel I'd even been to, and I haven't been to enough RTs to say it happens a lot, but even once is horrendous.
    I'm hearing that it wasn't RT's fault, that they were told the renovations would be finished, but that hotel was so far from being finished, that I don't think they'll be done this time next year - and that should have been a red flag to anyone organizing this event. RT has done this many times, so they have to know this - right?
    If this was my con, I'd be demanding rebates, which would be disbursed to attendees. But oh well.

    I felt terrible for JC that she didn't get the refrigerator she'd requested EARLY on for medical purposes.

    Lori

    4:32 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Anne, I wasn't going to name anyone. LOL. But yeah, stuff is blowing up all over the net over this, and it's so silly, IMO. Opinions are just that - and everyone has one.
    I HOPE my event is nicer, but to be fair, I'm soooo much smaller, even with 250 people this year, that I wouldn't face the same obstacles.
    As to EC, I think there are some mega talented authors there! As with any publisher, we'll like some of what they have, and other stuff won't be our "thing."
    I try very, very hard NOT to insult any author, anywhere.


    Tal, I don't see RT splitting anytime soon, and as Kate said, it shouldn't be an issue if everyone will behave professionally. I'm not sure how RT can accomplish that, but I can see laying down stricter rules - with threat of being banned - as an incentive.

    Ranurgis, yes others were sent to the Omni. It wasn't just me. To clarify, I believe all of the RT staff went to Omni, and from my own view, it shouldn't have been readers over authors, but rather first registered should have had first pick of being at the Hilton.
    That's my biggest gripe - that others registered after me, but because they came in a day earlier, got the con hotel and I got booted. LOL.
    I'm older too - nearly 50 (although I already claim 50, not sure why) but I don't think it's a generational thing. Younger authors were appalled as well.
    Professionalism is just that - professionalism. Consideration for ALL is the standard, not for a handful of people who enjoy acting out.

    Lori

    4:41 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Jenn! I love your response and thank you for giving it.
    Yes, we all need to remember and thank the volunteers who worked SO HARD to make the convention happen! Volunteers are almost always overlooked.
    Perhaps if I attend another RT convention, I should do so as a volunteer to get the other side of things. That's a thought!

    Your description for the hotel is hilarious! Dead on.

    My favorite part of the RT cons is meeting readers and authors new to me, and visiting with readers and authors I only see at these type events. I value that aspect of it a lot. It was a highlight for me.

    Your take on the parties sort of goes in direct contrast to what other erotica authors are saying. From what I've heard, and what has been posted here, they do NOT want erotica publisher-hosted parties to be anything less than a professional representation of talented work.
    I can understand that, too. We're all authors, and we all deserve respect for our work.
    So to say that it's more of a celebration of eroticism, complete with foul language (that spilled over to the bookfair) and groping (that spilled over to the public areas) and stripping (that involved the American flag) doesn't quite explain it.
    I get your point, and that's what I thought too, until Kate and a few others strongly disagreed.
    When I thought about the authors I know who write erotica, Kate's points really hit home.
    I don't personally know an erotica author who enjoys or would sanction any of those things.

    Gina, I don't know what the solution is, but I do think this year was the breaking point for many authors and for some readers. I've heard from a whole lot of people, not in response to my blog, but because we know each other and they wanted to vent. By a long shot, I'm not the only person who was unhappy with some aspects of the con.

    But again - overall, I LOVED going, meeting readers and authors and booksellers. The booksigning was fabulous. I did some great video interviews, and on the whole, RT is an awesome organization who has been supporting and encourging authors for a very long time.

    I'm off to write!
    HUGS TO ALL!

    Lori - who hopes y'all will excuse any typos as it is still early and I'm still drinking my coffee. ;-)

    5:33 AM  
    Anonymous aussie dee said...

    to those that are 50, I got a saying in the email that says I'm not 50, Im $49.95 plus tax. ha!
    not that I would know that's a loooong way off yet!

    5:58 AM  
    Blogger Lisa F. said...

    Wow, lots of discussion on the net about the RT convention.

    As a reader, I enjoy several romance genres. I read books published by Harlequin, Berkley, Samhain, Ellora's Cave, Pocket, Bantam, Extasy, Signet, Grand Central, Avon as well as some more that I'm probably leaving out. I enjoy reading this FICTION in my home, and would be very uncomfortable to have it played out in front of me, especially if I had paid that much money!

    On the other hand, having paid that fee, I would want a chance to meet all my favorite authors, so I would want them to attend the conference.

    It sounds like a huge problem on where to draw the line, and makes me very thankful to be the reader, and not the author or publisher.

    Looking forward to the June event, and meeting some of the wonderful authors that are attending this year. I will admit that even during the get together, I still escaped to my room to read for awhile, so no way could I have handled the RT convention.

    6:34 AM  
    Blogger Gennita said...

    Hi Lori,

    No, I don't condone foul language or sexual affrontation in parties either, don't get me wrong, LOL. Those things are in poor taste, especially when the participants are there to promote their books and calendars.

    I just wanted to clear up the misconception that RT arranges every ballroom act or even sanction misbehavior. When I brought up these concerns to Jo Carol, about perception, a couple of years ago at RWA (yes, she was there), she was very clear that this isn't RT policy at all, but as I've asked in my earlier post, she brought up the point of policing late at night, i.e., walking around the hotel looking for attendees and models misbehaving. This isn't possible a lot of the times because well, one, they're supposed to be adults enjoying themselves in the bars and two, most RT volunteers are in bed asleep or have gone back to their rooms not long after dinner/show.

    Again, I wish to stress that I'm not "for" this kind of behavior. It's not good for our image, for sure, and I have many erotica author friends who aren't comfortable with some of the things that happen at RT. What I am saying is, if the sponsoring publisher happens to be an erotica publisher, then it is up to them to choose how to present their calendar models. RT can only request, but it's the publisher who has a lot of the control here about what their image is. It is quite clear to me (and me only) that Ellora's Cave is sending out a message about being bold about sexuality. Since Daytona, their ECavemen wear shirts that loudly ask "GOT SEX?" They had a very conspicuous and brightly-painted bus that was the talk of that conference.

    The gyrations behind the flag...yes, not in good taste. Again, I really think alcohol plays a part in these things. You have a female attendee simulating a sex act ON STAGE--I know this is all spontaneous and alcohol-influenced--and a male dancer who...well...suddenly decided to add a little more to his act because there were enough cheers and whoots up front from other attendees. Sometimes, I think certain regular attendees forget that it's about the books and not about male models, but you can find these people at other crazy conventions that allow roll-plays/costumes too. I know many of them save $2000-$3000 for RT every year; they plan their lives around this event.

    That stupid Hilton mess? I've heard that they promised RT that it would be ready and when it was clear that they wouldn't be, it was too late. Other hotels were probably booked up by other conventions/meetings by then and couldn't accommodate the huge crowd. I also heard that Barack Obama took over a whole floor of the hotel for several nights so he could rest, so quite a number of guests had to be moved to the Omni. What I do know is that Hilton owes RT and those who attended an apology (and discount coupons!) and that RT makes sure never to use the Hilton Hotel again unless they deliver A LOT OF INCENTIVES. I'll definitely never go to a Hilton again without remembering this horrible place.

    Yes, it would be interesting if you report back next year from the viewpoint of a volunteer ;-). we'll put you in uniform and make you go after the bad apples, heh heh. You'll have to practice your mean face, though, Lori, since you're so sweet and nice to everyone. Look in the mirror and snarl everyday for the next year, "Get back to your rooms, you naughty boys and girls!" LOL. I can't wait.

    6:44 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    LOL Gennita. My sons could probably attest that I DO have a mean face. But I wouldn't be comfortable chastising other adults.

    Instead, my feeling is that RT DOES sanction this behavior by not reprimanding the publisher for bad behavior. No, they can't be on hand at all times, but they can listen to the complaints and concerns of others who were forced to witness things, and by association get tarred with the same brush.
    If they were banned, even once, they'd find a way to clean up their act. Trust me. I've seen parents who say they can't control the behavior of their at school, because they're not there. But if those kids knew that any misbehavior would be addressed at home, they'd think twice about acting out.
    Same theory applies here.
    There are no repercussions to the unseemly things they do, so why should they stop doing them?
    Even the fact that many, many of their authors are appalled (and afraid to say anything) doesn't seem to deter them.
    I've said it before, but it bears repeating:
    I'm a big fan of "to each her own." But that's only as long as "her own" doesn't make other people uncomfortable. We ALL owe common courtesy to everyone around us.
    If EC knows that their "cavemen" and groupies of their cavemen can get too liquored up to behave responsibily, then it's time to remove them from the venue. Period.

    Lisa, oh hon, you would NOT have been comfortable here. Ask Laurie D., or read her blog. It was something. LOL

    Hugs to all!

    Lori

    7:53 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm wondering if the presidential candidate staying there story might be a bit of a stretch on the Hotel's part to explain away why more rooms weren't available.

    Kind of hard to imagine a person with 24/7 SS protection holing up in a hotel under construction and filled with the comings and goings of 2.000 or so conference attendees.

    Not a very restful situation at all..and probably pretty hard to secure.

    Kind of thinking this might be wishful thinking on the hotels part..!!!

    Sarah

    8:26 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Yeah, Sarah, I found it doubtful too. There was a lot of speculating about politicians in all the area hotels while I was there. But with choices, I can't see why anyone would stay at THAT hotel, especially a presidential hopeful.

    Lori

    9:30 AM  
    Blogger elizabeth said...

    Gee, go away for a few days and look what I missed!

    As for the antics...

    IMO, sex within love is private; sex without love is NOT my cuppa.

    10:55 AM  
    Blogger talpianna said...

    Is the RT con run more or less entirely by females, since they are the main fans of romance? Maybe that's why they have more trouble exerting command & control than the SF con committees, which usually are mostly guys.

    Perhaps a security force--dressed as vampires? Vikings? Half-naked cupids with little bows and arrows?

    Anyway, it is the duty of whoever is running the con to ride herd on the exhibitors, the hotels, the advertisers, and ultimately the attendees. Good, experienced con people know how to head off trouble before it starts. And they work with hotel security.

    It seems to me that although the RT folks, volunteer and professional, may be great people, but they need some training in how to deal with a rambunctious convention!

    7:57 PM  
    Blogger talpianna said...

    P.S. Or maybe all that's needed is Jenn with her nail gun!

    7:58 PM  
    Blogger Gennita said...

    LOL, but Tal, if I follow the logic of your argument--I am a woman too. I would have trouble exerting command too.

    (said tongue-in-cheek, because Tal and I are friends)

    Can I point out, though, that RT has been holding conventions ran by women for mostly women since the 1980s? I think there are quite a few of them who have been doing that for that long too. They would certainly know more about setting up a convention than I do...although maybe I should hire myself out as a construction consultant so I can evaluate for them whether a hotel's promise about finishing up a remodeling project is really plausible or not. Ha.

    Kidding, kidding.

    8:21 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Tal, the problem really isn't that it's women running the show.
    You see, one publisher spends a LOT of money at RT, and therefore brings in a lot of money. They throw big parties, supply calendars, etc...
    When something gets out of hand, and too much bad behavior is exhibited, no one reprimands them because... they bring in so much money.
    So it's pretty much guaranteed that the bad behavior will remain unless the publisher decides to change things.
    And judging by the reaction of some of the authors from that publisher, all defending the publisher in the most outrageous ways, nothing will change.
    I haven't actually heard word one from the publisher, not on any blog. All I hear is from their authors.
    So... I think they have that stranglehold on the con, and things will remain the same, or get steadily (what I consider) worse.
    But not better.

    Lori

    5:57 AM  
    Blogger Ranurgis said...

    Ohoh! Another case of money with a big mouth. Yeah, who likes to get on the wrong side of anyone like that.

    However, something should be done if enough women feel out of their comfort zone with what is going on. Perhaps the publishers (shall they remain nameless?) should put on their own convention for these women. Then RT could put on their more "old-fashioned" one for the rest of us.

    10:45 AM  
    Blogger Ranurgis said...

    I just read a few more comments. One was about Stella's glass-in-oatmeal episode.

    The hotel problem reminds me of an ad by some travel company that "guarantees" you won't be disturbed by repairs. I wonder how far that goes. But a hotel should not charge full price for rooms under those conditions.

    What I'm finding again and again is lack of respect for people everywhere. Everybody seems to think only of: ME, money, instant gratification, and everyone else can go hang or die.

    I can remember my mother's telling me about the time she received too much change and went back to the cashier who ground out a bored and grudging "I'm sorry," and took the change back. No "thank you for being honest." After all, it wasn't the cashier's money though it's doubtful she would have bothered even then.

    But essentially I'm like Stella regarding "sexual displays." Both the flag and I deserve more respect.

    11:06 AM  
    Blogger talpianna said...

    Jenn: anyone who has publicly threatened to nail The Mole's tail to a board and take her surfing has no problem with exerting command!

    I didn't mean to suggest, BTW, that women weren't as good as men at running conventions. I was thinking that women are not as experienced at dealing with out-of-control participants as men, because cooperation is more natural to women. (cf. Deborah Tannen's books)

    But...But...Forget about the vampires and the Vikings and the Cupids. Command and control? We need NUNS! With RULERS!!!

    My other point was that I imagine (correct me if I'm wrong) that obstreperousness is a fairly new development in romance cons, while it's been a problem in SF cons for a long time, and they have more practice in dealing with it.

    Maybe the RT people should consult with people who have run a Worldcon or three?

    WV--rtamf RT--a mad farrago

    7:09 PM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Wow, this was a BIG blog. Thank you, thank you to everyone who chimed in.
    This'll be my last post on it, but I did want to say that the publisher of said "over the top" events, isn't really a secret. There have been numerous blogs already posted about them. And my friend, JCWilder (also in the benefit anthology with all authr & agent proceeds going to our local battered women's shelter) was booted off the publisher list. She's an author there, but she posted a blog - without names - doing something she does every year: a recap of the RT event.
    That publisher found out and kicked her to the curb. Apparently, no matter what happens, authors are not supposed to mention bad behavior for threat of retribution.
    So anyone still interested is welcome to visit J.C. Wilder's blog to find out more.
    It's all a pretty nasty mess, if you ask me.
    And yet, RT likely won't ask them curb their more unappealing antics because of the $ factor. Too sad.

    Hugs to all!
    And remember, I adore RT the magazine, the people working there, the effort they put forth to support our genre. I just don't some of the things that happen at the con.

    Lori

    5:40 AM  
    Blogger Ranurgis said...

    Lori, thanks for indirectly answering my question. I figured that was the publisher in question. And now I better understand why the back cover of RT is usually dedicated to their ads, though I had sort of figured that one out myself.

    Too bad that $ is the arbiter of so much of our world these days.

    And the flag incidents are not only nauseating as disrepct to a symbol of the people fighting but also to the decency of people everywhere.

    10:55 AM  
    Blogger azteclady said...

    Lori, thank you for chiming in at Karen's--since you have no dog in that particular dispute, your perspective is all the more important for this reader.

    7:10 AM  
    Blogger Lori Foster said...

    Karen's blog has been hopping, huh?
    I'm glad you don't find my posts there an intrusion. Right is right, and what's happening is oh-so-wrong.
    Hugs,

    Lori

    7:34 AM  
    Blogger Carol Stacy said...

    The two conversations I had with Lori were to find out exactly what she saw so that I could address what she witnessed moving forward because we, as an organization, care. I only wish that Lori had come to us as it was happening so that we could have addressed the objectionable behavior as it was going on.

    As I explained to Lori we were not aware of the incidents that she (and others) witnessed nor do we condone that behavior. Now that we are aware that a handful of people have been offensive we will put policies and measures in place to ensure that it does not happen moving forward.

    As for Promotion Lane, I have to agree that X-rated items should NOT be offered in this forum although only a small handful of authors in the past have used them. But moving forward we will now monitor the items carefully. We are working on a form that will go out to all authors who want to place promotional items in this area that states all items MUST BE PG 13. This does not include book covers because if someone is promoting erotica the cover will pretty much be very sensual.

    As I said to Lori WE WILL make major changes for next year. Lori said she hoped we were not changing things because of what she said. Well, we will make changes because of what she said because she raised some very serious issues. I am grateful to her for coming forward (although I would have preferred her to do it privately but I understand the nature of blogging).

    Sometimes we (RT) are too close to the event and busy just trying to make everything run smoothly to see some of the other things going on in the hotel public spaces. Sometimes we are just too close to see a different perspective. Lori has given us a lot to ponder.

    Because of the hotel fiasco I, along with all of my convention colleagues who worked tirelessly to make sure the workshops and events went as planned, never made it down to the lobby and the bar lounge in the evening. Had we witnessed any of what Lori and others saw we would have intervened.

    Our intention is to bring authors together with fans and booksellers for the purpose of celebrating books — ALL BOOKS. Romance is definitely a part of our convention but we also celebrate all types of women's fiction including mystery, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy and yes, erotica.

    The fun parties that we have are for the fans and only one — the EC Fantasy party — out of 25 is being deemed questionable which I attended and can say with all sincerity I DID NOT WITNESS any lewd behavior. Again if I had, it would have been addressed. I was with Janelle Taylor, Jennifer Blake and Bertrice Small whose 85-year-old husband was dancing up a storm having a great time. Bertrice, Jennifer and Janelle were also dancing. I was not. I was just observing everyone having a great time and saw NOTHING lewd or objectionable. Lori told me she was not there to witness what had been said but I WAS THERE and saw nothing that was described in some of the blogs. Not saying it did not happen after I left but did not happen when I was there which was pretty much until the end.

    We are a reader organization. We try to give readers an incentive to come to the BOOKLOVERS convention hence the parties and they love the themed parties and dressing up. They love the Mr. Romance Competition and they love having the former Mr. Romance winners there, all of whom I can personally vouch for. Collectively they are sweet guys who have come to love the RT family. When they attend they help us in any way we need them to and are always willing to assist as escorts for the ladies to get up on stage for the parties and the awards ceremony. The guys in question (as Lori stated) were NOT Mr. Romance contestants or former Mr. romance winners.

    By the same token, if things are happening during our event that we are unaware of that are objectionable and offensive (no matter who it is that is behaving badly male or female) then WE WILL take action moving forward. I promise and anyone who knows me knows I am a woman of my word.

    I regret that all of this negativity came out of what was otherwise a very successful convention. Dozens of devoted people worked extremely hard to make it such and I feel terrible that they are on the receiving end of the piercing accusations. They do not deserve it. I take full responsibility for not being on top of what was going on in the public spaces but it just was not possible. Next year we will have the public spaces supervised and will be ready to deal with things as they may occur.

    As I said, there will be restriction on Promotion Lane next year and other than explicit cover there will not be offensive promo items on display nor will they be allowed at the Book Fair.

    By Lori's own admission there were many wonderful events, workshops and good old fashioned networking. Hundreds of readers and booksellers got to meet the authors which is the highlight of the convention for them.

    It's a shame that a few bad apples diminished all the good that went on at our convention. I know better for next year and there will be changes.

    Sincerely,
    Carol Stacy
    Publisher of
    Romantic Times BOOKrevies and Convention Organizer

    3:47 PM  

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