Total-E-Bound Editor Stacey Birkel Loses Her RT Convention Virginity

Here at RT, we love virgins — RT Booklovers Convention virgins, that is. There's nothing more exciting than watching a newbie experience their first RT Con, whether it be a fan, author or industry pro. Today we hear from Total-E-Bound's Editor In Chief, Stacey Birkel, who attended her first RT Convention this year in Kansas City. She gives us a brief recap of her week and shares some of her favorite moments.

RT — it's the big Kahuna of Romance cons and for good reason. Between the publisher representation and the attendance, it definitely takes top prize. This year, I finally had the perfect excuse to go — my day job as EIC of Total-E-Bound Publishing.

Yes, I was a virgin!

Wednesday started out with setting up our table in Club RT. Think of it as a sort of market slash meet-n-greet. It was great getting to talk to the convention goers in a more relaxed atmosphere. There are also panels and spotlights going on all day, every day, and fun events at night, like a disco party! We hustled and danced to a rather eclectic mix of music. Energy was high and lots of people really enjoyed dressing the part.

Stacey in front of the Total-E-Bound table at Club RT

The first daytime event I went to was Romance Pride on Thursday. There were lots of costumes, since you were to come dressed as your favorite sub-genre. I went out on a limb and chose Contemporary. Not sure why I didn't win, but some of the other outfits were awesome!

Time for the E-book Expo! We moved the display table down then took turns wandering through the aisles, finding some of our favorite authors! After that it was time for bed. No, wait! It was time for an espresso then to get ready for the 30th Anniversary Formal Ball. Dressed to the nines was the style of the night!

Friday was busy!! It was the last day in Club RT, my home away from home, and also the phenomenon known at Pitch-a-Palooza. It was very cool doing that, and then we got to draw the winner of our Kindle and Oz giveaway. The Whispering Cove series party was right down the hall from us, so we went and got a yummy drink called Sex At My House — Amaretto, raspberry liquor and pineapple juice. Turned out EL James was there, so I had Sex At My House with EL James. Hmm…that didn’t come out quite right.

Stacey having a cocktail with EL James

Freaky Friday nighttime party indeed! Wow, there are some seriously repressed souls who bust out all over when they get to conferences! Loved it!

Saturday brought the big, GIANT Book Fair. Nothing I can write could do it justice. It was also Teen Day. To me, that was my favorite part — the hundreds of young readers so excited and lining up to get books and meet authors. So gratifying to see the next generation of readers! The FAN-tastic Author event was amazing! Stacks upon stacks of free books, authors everywhere, food, raffles. I met authors I remember reading as a teen when I first started reading romance! In fact, I got an ARC of a new book by Jude Deveraux, who I first read thirty years ago! Wow!

Saturday was the last night, with a cocktail party and dance. And as our evening concluded, that was the wrap on RT. It's always so hard to say goodbye to everyone. It was an amazing experience to be with so many people who share my passion for books. I know that this is the first of many RTs to come for me!

Goodbye all, and see you next year at RT 2014 in New Orleans!

- Stacey Birkel

What was your first time at a RT Convention like? Let us know in the comments. And keep checking our RT Convention page for the latest info on the 2014 RT Con in New Orleans.