June 10, 2016 08:11 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I returned home from Las Vegas a few days ago, my head full of new information, my heart full of love for friends that have become like family, and my mind full of exciting new memories. As with the past three years, the Romance Novel Convention transported me to a fun and magical place that almost has a dreamy quality to it. I can’t quite explain it to anyone who hasn’t attended and experienced it for themselves, but it’s a place that comes alive with it’s own special heart, soul, and energy, so much so that each time, I’ve hated to leave it behind.
This year’s RNC had an intimate quality to it as well. It always has, but this year even more so. I felt like I got a chance to interact with more people and on a little more personal level. Each of the past couple of years at RNC, I was blessed to find a new friend, but this year, it was more about deepening relationships with people I’d previously met and then gotten to know over social media. I also met new people who I hope to get to know better. Each year at RNC, I’ve stepped just a little further outside my deeply introverted comfort zone, and I’ve never been disappointed with where that’s taken me. For anyone who knows me well, that’s a huge deal.
In addition to valuable socializations, I also learned a great deal of valuable information while attending the classes. I usually tend to pace myself with the workshops, so as not to go into information overload, and I typically choose ones that I feel might be most relevant to my immediate goals. This year I took two classes on writing erotic romance taught by Madison Lake, as well as a class on turning your books into audio format taught by Linda Rae Sande and LaVerne Thompson. (I’m now inspired and hope to get my books into audio very soon.) I also took two classes on creating multi-author boxed sets. The first was given by LaVerne Thompson, Taabia Dupree, and Lolah Lace focusing on some of the ins and outs of boxed sets. The second was taught by Melissa Stevens, Lane Hart, and Jami Brumfield and focused more on how they used a boxed set to hit the bestseller lists. Last but not least, I took Jami Brumfield’s class on overcoming fear to find success in which I learned something about myself and which also inspired me to look more closely into guided meditation.
In the past, I’ve written daily play-by-plays of my time at RNC, but due to time constraints, this year, I’m going to give daily highlights of some of my favorite memories all in this one post.
Wednesday: There were lots of fun and games at the evening Meet & Greet, the most fun being a game of musical chairs in which two of our cover models, Jimmy Thomas and Julian Mora, stayed seated in their chairs, thus becoming two of the “chairs.” Alas, I didn’t play. I wasn’t feeling very well that evening, but if I had been, I might have been persuaded, as Julian was doing a very good job of tempting me.;-) In any case, it was quite amusing to watch the other ladies play, especially when they were fighting over Jimmy’s and Julian’s laps.
Thursday: Nothing could beat the Costume Ball. I love dressing up and then seeing if people recognize me and/or the character I’m playing. This year I went as Agent Peggy Carter from Captain America: The First Avenger. That afternoon, I spent three blissfully relaxing hours at the Aveda Institute getting my hair and makeup professionally done and the result was incredible. I received many compliments and made a few people do a double-take before figuring out it was me.;-)
Me in my Agent Peggy Carter costume. (Thank you, Taabia Dupree, for taking this photo.)
Me and Jordan Mora (Julian's son) at the Costume Ball. (Thank you, Linda Rae Sande, for taking this photo.)
Our Keynote Speaker, Victoria Alexander, with LaShawn Vasser at Saturday's Book Fair.
Friday: I thoroughly enjoyed Victoria Alexander’s keynote speaker address. It was equal parts funny, informative, and inspiring. The Male Model Mayhem was a hoot. Jimmy, Julian, and Mike Hendrickson were all put in the hot seat to answer questions, some that got pretty personal. It was definitely an adults-only event, and a very fun one. The guys were all great sports. In answer to what actor should play him if a movie was made about his life, Mike chose Ryan Reynolds, and I totally agree. He was cracking me up with his sharp sarcastic wit that’s so much like Ryan’s. In the evening, we had a huge Raffle Drawing for lots of prizes. I was shocked to win three things (I’m not usually that lucky.), one of which was a gift bag put together by Kelleye Richards.
Gift bag donated by Kelleye Richards that I won at the Raffle Drawing.
I really had my fingers crossed to win this one, because I love the adorable little vampire beanie bear. I also enjoy giving things away, so raffling off the gift basket I brought and presenting Jimmy with the special gift I brought just for him were highlights of my evening as well.
Here's all the goodies inside the bag. I can't get over how adorable the bear is with his little fangs. Squee!
Saturday: Again there were multiple highlights for this day. I really enjoyed the book fair. I’m very surprised by how natural it’s becoming to talk to people about my books, and I appreciate everyone who stopped by my table whether they bought a book or not. I also had a good time going around to say hello to each of the authors and get them to sign my RNC tote bag (watch for a special giveaway coming soon).
Me posing at my Book Fair table.
Cover Model Bingo was equally hilarious and R-rated as Male Model Mayhem. I wasn’t nearly as lucky at bingo as I was at the raffles (I only won one round), but I still had a lot of laughs. That carried over to after the game, when the guys decided to “throw me around a little” as Julian put it.;-) In the evening, I had the privilege of sponsoring a special screening of the documentary film “Love Between the Covers.” If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to see it, I hope you’ll look for a screening near you or purchase the digital version when it’s released July 12, 2016 on iTunes and On Demand.
The guys, Julian Mora, David Nicholl, and Jimmy Thomas, "throwing me around." I may look a little freaked out, but I promise I was having a blast.:-)
Sunday: This wasn’t a conference day. My hubby and I just decided to stay an extra day and enjoyed having some down time with each other, especially since our anniversary was the weekend before and we hadn’t yet had an opportunity to celebrate. We went to the movie theater right there at the hotel to see Captain America: Civil War, which I loved! I adore the Cap. He’s my favorite superhero. Why do you think I wanted to dress up as his first love?;-)
Well, of course, I said I was only going to do highlights, and then I end up being verbose anyway. I guess that’s why my husband made a joke about me being a novelist and not a public speaker. I hope you’ve made it this far, because I want to give a huge shout-out to, Jimmy Thomas, who has become more than a mere cover model to me. I may have started out as a fan, but now I’m blessed to call him a dear friend who has been a great influence on me. He persevered through a lot of twists, turns, and bumps in the road to bring us RNC2016, and I’m ever so grateful for all that he’s done. I also need to thank all the amazing volunteers who helped in front of and behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly and who were always ready with a smile and a helping hand: Taabia Dupree, Tara Rose, Anya Kelleye, Renee Waring, Steph Bretson, LaVerne Thompson, Linda Rae Sande, Susan Newman, and Caren Davis. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out. Love you guys! You and others who couldn’t be there have become my RNC family. Miss you already! Hope to see you again soon!
A bunch of my RNC Family. Standing left to right: Linda Rae Sande, Taabia Dupree, Susan Newman, David Nicholl, Steph Bretson, Renee Waring, Jimmy Thomas, Me, Mike Hendrickson, LaVerne Thompson. Front: Julian Mora, Tara Rose.
I feel badly that Anya Kelleye aka Kelleye Richards and Caren Davis didn't make it into this photo. They were off somewhere working hard. Alas, I didn't have any photos of Caren.:-( But here's Anya at the Book Fair.
Tags: Anya Kelleye, Captain America, David Nicholl, Jami Brumfield, Jimmy Thomas, Julian Mora, Kelleye Richards, LaVerne Thompson, Linda Rae Sande, Love Between the Covers, Marvel's Agent Carter, Melissa Stevens, Michael Hendrickson, Renee Waring, Romance Novel Convention, Susan Newman, Taabia Dupree, Tara Rose, Victoria Alexander