dinsdag 12 mei 2009

RT Convention - Orlando Florida

Well our adventure to Orlando Florida began a few days before the Convention. We didn’t knew what to expect, so we took two suitcase per person with us, yeah I hear you guys thinking “why two”. Well if you saw our free books and goodies, you know why we needed the second suitcase.

We left on Monday April 20th and after a long night without any sleep at all, Marisa and I went to the airport around 06.00am. Our flight left at 09.00am, so we had some time to drink coffee/tea and get something to eat. After some questions for customs and going through the security we’re ready to board. I have to admit I cannot remember much of the flight. As soon as Marisa took her seat she fell asleep, damn that girl can sleep anywhere, but not much later I was in dreamland too.

We had an extra stop in Newark NY, where we change planes before we finally flew to Orlando. A few hours later we were in the Wyndham Orlando Resort Hotel. We were tired from the long flight and after some dinner and a shower we went to bed. Well, Marisa did…LOL…I did manage to read my book.

Wyndham Orlando Resort

Our first day in Orlando and we had the whole day to ourselves, no convention yet and my friends from Ireland and US weren’t there either. So we had some breakfast, checked the place out and discovered that our hotel was bigger than we thought it would be. We didn’t want to miss out a thing so we decided to go to Seaworld and WOW what a great experience it was. It’s sad to see the animals locked up like that, but I’m honest the Dolphins & Killer whales show was fabulous. I could feel the adrenaline flowing through my veins and wanted to swim with them for myself LOL…

SeaWorld Orlando

Back at the hotel we discovered we were pretty burnt by the sun, to be honest we didn’t thought about bringing sunscreen with us. Thank goodness it didn’t hurt. Later on that night Marisa and I finally met my online chat buddy Marcella (Solly), her sister Kerry and Renee (Ann N) for the first time. Those girls are great; we had a great evening with lots of laughing.

Marisa and I joined Marcella downstairs so we could get to the registration to get our badges and schedule for the rest of the week. Our first workshop was “Vampire, a bite with a twist”, where we could see what some authors had to say about their books and where we were able to ask questions. “Naughty can be nice” was our second workshop and I have to say it was really nice. Marisa and I discover we liked the readers’ workshop more than the writing workshops. We got a lot of goodies and play some nice games.

At lunchtime we joined the others, where I finally met my other online buddy Kimmie (great girl). “Intergalactic Bar and Grille party was the next one on the list for today. What can I say about this little party, each table had to answers some questions and when the table got the answer right, the one with the “hunk label” in her hand won a prize. First we thought this was not something for us, but Marisa, Renee and I stayed till the end and really had some fun. Renee didn’t realize that C.L. Wilson was the Queen of our table; I have to say she is a nice lady.

Marisa and Renee stayed behind at the hotel for the E-book expo and the Jungle party, but the rest of us were off to Universal Boulevard to join Debbie, Rhonda, Chris and Adam for dinner at Emerilo’s to celebrate Chris’s birthday, Hardrock CafĂ© was our next stop.

Left: Marcella & Natasja / Right: Kimmie, Marcella & Natasja
Marcella, Chris, Deb & Rhonda

Our first workshop was “Demons Unplugged” with Jacquelyn Frank, Larissa Ione Jenna Black and Stella Price. Some great authors and we really had a great time discussing books, gorgeous alpha males and future books. I have to say Jacquelyn Frank made my day, we were discussing Noah and his heroine but for some reason she couldn’t remember the name. Well I helped her on the way and as a reward she gave me the ARC “Rapture”, the second novel in her Shadowdweller series. WOW, the day couldn’t have started better then that.

The second workshop was “Wild & Wacky reader party”, we didn’t quite know what to expect but it was fun. All the cover models 2009 were there and they answered some pretty HOT questions.
Cover models with authors Kayla Perrin & Tina Wainscott

After lunch we went to the workshop “Bunco Babes Bash” with author Maria Geraci, who we met at the registration table the first day. She was so nice that Marisa and I wanted to go to her workshop. Well, another hour full of fun and games, we had to play the game Bunco. We didn’t know exactly how to play it, but Marisa was good at it. She didn’t won but she was in the top 5, so that is not bad.

We had a busy schedule because after that we went to “Avon Dust to Dark mixer”, where a few authors were signing and giving away their books. At first we didn’t knew which authors were going to be there, but as soon as we found out we were thrilled, Pamela Palmer, Jocelyn drake, Kerrelyn Sparks, Melissa Marr and Jeaniene Frost who gave away her fourth book Destined for an Early grave (release date August 2009).

That night we had the Feary ball with dinner at all. I have to say some people were totally wacko with their costumes, but it was fun to watch. After dinner there was time for dancing and if they would have played “real music” then I would have, but it seems the music was lock and you couldn’t ask any request…grrr…At midnight Marisa, Renee, Kimmie and I went to Deidre Knight’s Gods of Midnight Party, where all the cover models were dressed up like Spartan warriors. Some of them were yummy and others were not. I have to say we had more fun with Stella Price, then we had with the chair dance.

Deidre Knight and her Spartan warriors

Marisa, Renee, Kimmie and I all agreed to go to Jacquelyn Frank’s sunrise and shadowdwellers mixer at 8.15am. It was way to early, but the goodie bag was worth it. In the bag there was a book of the Nightwalker series, a really nice bookmark, a small glass with the logo of the shadowdweller and a nice book cover to protect your paperback while you read it. Our free books and goodies pile were growing and growing back at the hotel room.

“Sinfully Sweet” was the next workshop we went to, at first I thought this would be boring. But I had to say it was pretty cool, the authors were funny, especially Stephanie Burke. She and Marisa had a real click, so when some game went totally wrong she picked Marisa out to do the job. Marisa had to read with a straight face some text with “funny words”, she couldn’t laugh or otherwise someone else gets the price. Well anyone who knows Marisa, she perfect for the job, so she went home with a bag full of stuff from cover model Charles (poster, sweaty t-shirt).
“Harlequin’s 60th anniversary party” and after that the “RT Book reviews awards ceremony” were next on the program with more free books and goodies.

That night we had the Vampire ball with dinner and some sort of musical preformed by some authors. I have to say Heather Graham is a great author, but she can sing too. The music afterwards was as bad as the night before, we had a great time but only because we spend it together. It was not the music..LOL..

Left: Natasja, Kimmie & Marisa
Right: Kimmie, Marcella & Natasja
The workshops are over, but of course there were more free books to give away at the “Street Party”. But the all time favourite event today was the book fair, were we could meet a lot of authors and buying their books, which they of course signed. I had some books from home with me to get signed (Shayla Black, Jeaniene Frost, Jaye Wells & Jacquelyn Frank) but I bought a couple more (Jocelynn Drake, Larissa Ione, Stella Price, Kim Lenox, S.J. Day and Kerrelyn Sparks). After the book fair we had to say goodbye to Kimmie, because she was going to leave. Damn, I know for sure I’m going to miss that girl…thank goodness for Internet and text messages.

Left: Stella Price / Right: Natasja & Sylvia Day

Left: C.L. Wilson & Marisa / Right: Jacquelyn Frank

Renee, Marcella, Marisa and I went to the Mr. Romance Competition, not quite what I’ve expected because they didn’t strip...LOL..I have to say they look great in suit, but I was hoping to see some bare chest and legs. The winner was Charles Paz, not quite my type but he was nice and funny.

After that Marisa and I went to the “Cover model reunion reception”, I have to say we didn’t want to go after the long day we had. But we’ve paid for this reunion so we decided to go anyway and we had some fun. You could talk to the new cover models but also with the previous models. We were in line for some wine and snacks and we were talking Dutch to each other, what is normal when you’re not in company. Model Jimmy Thomas was in front of us and he could understand some of the conversation and he asks us if we were from The Netherlands. It seems he lived in The Netherlands for a few months and could understand some Dutch, what a small world. At the end of the event we could decide to stand between the models so they could take a picture, of course we did….LOL..

The last night with a party…well you couldn’t say it was a party, just some drinks, snacks and of course free books. Renee, Marisa and I join Stella Price and her friends, later on Marcella, Kerry, Adam, Chris and Debbie joined us too. The music was a little bit better than the nights before and it was nice to close the event with this.
Sunday was relaxing day for all of us, there were no workshops anymore, just some paranormal stuff if you wanted to go. Renee had the leave early, so we already said goodbye to her the night before. Marcella and Kerry were sleeping in and Marisa and I already pack our suitcases, so we had the whole day ahead of us. We decided to relax and read our book on the porch. You should have seen us, two women in a rocking chair reading our book.

The only thing we did visit was the “Resplendence romance at twilight”; over there you could watch movies all night long. We only stayed to see the movie Twilight but after that we left to get some late dinner and to relax back in the hotel room.

Monday, the day we had to leave Orlando, our suitcases were ready. We were a little bit worried about the weight after we put all the books inside, but we had to wait and see. We stopped by Marcella and Kerry room to say goodbye and got the travel bus to the airport. We had a long flight ahead of us, but we were prepared, our hand baggage was full of books…LOL…

I have to admit meeting people for the first time after chatting online for a while is weird and exciting, but I have to say it was worth it. All of them are great and really nice.
Marcella, you’re my gal, meeting you my chat buddy was the tip of the iceberg. I will definitely visit Ireland soon and of course you’re welcome to come over anytime. Love ya Mars !!
Kimmie, you’re funny and fabulous. I couldn’t wish for a better admin buddy for our group and I’ll hope we stay friends for a very long time. Love ya girl !!
Renee aka “Miss chapter 32”, you’re a party girl. Damn, that woman wants to dance all the time, but she is funny to be around with. We definitely see each other next year at the AAD.
Rhonda, Debbie and Chris, it was great to finally meet you guys. We haven’t spoken much online, but I’ll hope to do that more in the near future.
At last but no least, Marisa my partner in crime, I'll hope to do this again soon. It was really fun to finally fulfill our dream.

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