WARNING, the content of this post might be construed to seem like I'm bragging. I'm not bragging. I'm just stating the honest facts - okay yes I'm bragging. But not in the bad way. This is the bragging the warrior does after he's combed the chilled forests of the hinterland, taken down a rampaging bison with his bare hands, and hauled the enormous carcass home to feed his village. "Look at how BIG that bison was!"
Okay, so what I did took a lot less blood and pain (although I might have accidentally elbowed a few people at the crowded book signings) but this is probably the closest I'll ever come to big game hunting. I faced the heated battlefields of the booksignings, the lines to the ballroom, rival fangirls, riveting workshops, and now UPS has finally brought back my hard-won spoils. If you would indulge me, please let me hang the literary equivalent of a huge bison pelt on my wall. A huge bison pelt that I will eventually review all of, by the way.
What I mean to say with all this blathering, is that UPS finally delivered the box of books I shipped from RWA Nationals! So (as I mentioned I would in my other posts), let me detail the full extent of my RWA National Conference Bounty. I'm not doing pictures of them all, because that would take a long-ass time to load, but I will describe what made me choose certain books, why I'm excited to read them, where I got them, and who was lovely enough to sign them.
The short, quick and dirty version: these are all the books I got at RWA. 11 were bought at the Literacy Booksigning, 3 were bought with the $25 I won at the RWA Online Chapter party, and 69 were free of charge. The majority of these had to be shipped, thanks to the unfair restrictions in both luggage weight and volume. I think it's safe to say that it's not going to be very hard to refrain from buying books (with exceptions made for going to the Library sale with my Granny in September and spending book certificates given as gifts at Christmas and birthdays, etc.) for the next year to save money for Nashville. At least I won't have to tighten my belt.
Long version (in alphabetical order, and I'm not mentioning the books I got at the Literacy signing because I already did in a previous post):
The Summoning, by Kelley Armstrong.
I found this one while at the Avon book signing. At first she didn't have any books at the signing which I thought was weird, but more were brought in. It turns out her original books had been stolen (along with Melissa Marr's and some others that were all held in the same room at the Marriott), which makes me hopping mad. Otherwise, I was glad to try her new YA book. I've read most of the Women of the Otherworld series (I got them for free by being an employee at Chapters), and she is one of the rare paranormal authors whose work I've read and enjoyed.
Tangled Up in Love, by Heidi Betts.
The knitting cover reminded me of How to Knit a Wild Bikini, but Betts assured me at the St Martin's signing that her book was better. We'll see about that - but the story does sound nice.
One Reckless Summer, by Toni Blake.
A BIG thank you to Katiebabs and her endless generosity - she allowed me to grab this out of her box of unwanted books. I've been wanted to read this since I read the blurb - small town romance! Interclass relationship! Hooray!
Dangerous, by Monica Burns
No idea about the story or the author, but I won a copy of this trade paperback at the RWA Online Party.
Passion for the Paranormal, by Shannon K Butcher, Emma Holly, Alyssa Day, Nalini Singh, Christina Dodd, Jessica Anderson
Okay, so technically this is a book of excerpts, but it's big enough to be considered a real book in my eyes. I wrote off paranormals years ago after burning out on a couple of bad or m'eh ones for The Green Man Review (turns out I don't like Patricia Briggs, so sue me - her first book had huge-ass info dumps and the plot was convoluted and made no sense, so why should I try her other books?), but it's still a huge genre so while I can get examples for free I might as well try more.
Never Trust a Scoundrel, by Gayle Callen.
Found this at the Avon signing, where I first discovered that Gayle Callen is fantastic and superfly and gives bad-ass workshop advice. She was also offering her Julia Latham medievals, but I chose the Regency one. She told me she wrote medievals under a different name so she could have more books out at the same time. Seems like a good plan to me!
Homicide in Hardcover, by Kate Carlisle.
I won this as part of the Orange Country Chapter's prize at the Literacy signing raffle. I'm not familiar with the author, but a "bibliophile mystery" sounds intriguing.
Paradise Valley, by Robin Carr.
Found this at the St Martin's signing once it had cooled down a little and the crowds had thinned. I've heard good things about her work and I love love love small-town romances so I snatched this up quick as I could.
Plundered Treasure, by Charlotte Carter.
I won this hardcover book in the raffle prize. The title made me giggle before I read it and found out it's more of a mystery.
Charmed and Dangerous, by Toni McGee Causey.
Can you forgive me for reading the title and expecting a paranormal? Picked this up at the St Martin's signing and discovered it's more of a suspense a la Stephanie Plum (author's words).
Undressed, by Kristina Cook.
I found this in the Goody Room, but what a weirdly marketed book it is. Go to Amazon or Chapters.ca and find a picture of the cover. Everything about the cover screamed contemporary - the sleek cartoon piece of very modern underwear on the front, the jolly (instead of handwritten) font, even the title, made it sound like a chick-lit-y read. Only by reading the back did I discover it was a historical. *headdesk*
Confessions of a Duchess, by Nicola Cornick.
Found this at the Harlequin signing, and historical + pretty cover + free is pretty much catnip to me.
Tumbling Through Time, by Gwyn Cready.
I found this at the Pocket signing, and picked it over Seducing Mr Darcy - partly because I liked the idea of falling in love with your own romance hero and partly because I'm proud and prejudiced against books that screw around with Jane Austen because they always seem like fan fiction to me - I respect fan fiction, but don't think it should be published.
Start Me Up, by Victoria Dahl.
Found this book at the Harlequin signing. I've heard oodles of positive press about Victoria Dahl, and I'm glad I got the chance to pick up one of her contemporaries as opposed to one of her historicals. Don't get me wrong, I love historicals - but I made a very conscious choice to pick up a lot of contemporaries and paranormals to make sure I don't OD on empire-waist gowns.
Eve of Darkness, by S.J. Day.
Part of the raffle prize I won, donated by the Orange Country Chapter. Awesome cover, non-Caucasion heroine, religious subtext? Yes please!
Wild, Wild Women of the West, by Delilah Devlin, Layla Chase, and Myle Jackson.
This was a part of the prize package I won in a raffle, donated by the Orange County Chapter of RWA. No idea what it's about, but I've been thinking about getting into westerns.
The Girl Most Likely To ... By Susan Donovan.
Caught this one at the St Martin's signing - it sounded like an interesting contemporary. I like the idea of reuniting sweethearts and small towns.
Sins of a Duke, by Suzanne Enoch.
I already know I like her books, so even though I bought Always a Scoundrel at the Literacy Autographing event, when I saw she had another book at the Avon signing, I snatched it right up.
How I Write, by Janet Evanovich, with Ina Yalof.
This was on every chair in the ballroom during the opening session where the Stephanie Plum author gave her speech. Somewhat unsettled by the fact that the famous author didn't write her How I Write book alone.
Wild Blue Under, by Judi Fennell.
A surprising find at the Sourcebooks signing: a merman hero. Count me in!
Suddenly One Summer, by Barbara Freethy.
Found this in my RWA registration goody bag, and was instantly attracted to the beautiful cover and the plot that takes place in a small town. I am a total sucker/addict for small-town stories.
Halfway to the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost.
Found this at the Avon signing, and decided to take advantage of the free book opportunity to give the paranormal and urban fantasy subgenre of romance another go. This one sounded good, and Katiebabs loves it, so that's a firm recommendation.
The Diaper Diaries, by Abby Gaines.
I won this in the raffle. I'm mostly unfamiliar with category romances, but since I got this for free I might as well try it.
Teaming Up, by Abby Gaines.
Also in the Orange County Chapter raffle prize - it's a Nascar romance. Colour me intrigued.
The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, by Diane Gaston, Deb Marlowe, Amanda McCabe.
Met Deb Marlowe at the awesome workshop with Sabrina Jeffries about making a single title romance series, and discovered I'd demonstrated remarkable foresight in picking up her book at the Harlequin signing before I'd met her.
Tangled Up in You, by Rachel Gibson.
Got this at the Avon signing to dilute the pure estract of Historical I was tapping from the event, entirely unaware that I was choosing this one over the book that eventually got her the RITA (Not Another Bad Date).
The Blue Zone, by Andrew Gross.
Found a huge stack of these books in the Goody Room, grabbed one. No idea who this guy is or how he writes but I guess I'll find out one way or the other.
Any Given Doomsday, by Lori Handeland.
There's been a lot of buzz surrounding this paranormal series, so when I got the chance at the St Martins' signing to get a free copy of the first book, I took my chance.
Talk of the Town, by Karen Hawkins.
Found this book at the Pocket signing, and I was interested in trying her stuff. I chose her contemporary (rather than the historical highlander romance that she was also signing) because I need to balance my diet of historicals with contemporary and paranormal and other genres, otherwise I tend to go a little nuts.
A Hint of Wicked, by Jennifer Haymore.
HOORAY! I'm so pleased I discovered this was part of the raffle prize from the Orange County Chapter of RWA! This has been on my wishlist for forever. The only regret is that Canadian Customs, when they opened my box to inspect the contents, ravaged the shit out of the cover. It's still readable though!
In Bed with the Devil, by Lorraine Heath.
I met her at the Avon signing, and the story (girl hires "devil earl" to murder a dude) sounded both enjoyably implausible and interesting, as well as being the first in a series, inspired me to pick this book up.
Forbidden Moon, by Elysa Hendricks.
When I went to the Gathering (the party for the FF&P chapter of RWA), there were goody bags on every chair - one seat at our table wasn't claimed, so the rest of those seated divided the spoils. I was given this because, as one of my tablemates said, "You're the newbie, take every opportunity for books that you can." Initially, I wanted to refuse. Why? Because it has an ugly cover. And I mean ugly. I'm talking about cheap computer graphics, an unnecessarily phallic symbol on the front, a publisher I don't know. I took one look and thought DO NOT WANT. But how fair would that be? It's not the author's fault her book looks like ass. So I'm going to make myself read it anyway.
Immortal Warrior, by Lisa Hendrix.
I've been trying to get back into paranormals, and this book sounded amazing - a Viking cursed to be an eagle in the daytime who marries a lady and has to keep it a secret. Sounds a lot like Ladyhawke. I love Ladyhawke. Thanks to the Barnes and Noble giftcard I won from RWA, I got this book free of charge!
Too Good to be True, by Kristan Higgins.
I was delighted to find this in my RWA registration goody bag! I'd heard fabulous things about her books, and the story for this novel in particular (girl makes up a pretend boyfriend to make her ex-fiance and her sister feel less guilty for falling in love with each other) really intrigued me.
Death Angel, by Linda Howard.
This was given to every attendee of the Thursday RWA Luncheon, where Linda Howard was the keynote speaker. Honestly, Linda Howard's speech was hilarious and inspirational, so I'm actually looking forward to trying the romantic suspense genre with one of her books.
Don't Bargain with the Devil, by Sabrina Jeffries
I found this in my RWA goody bag at registration. I was tempted to write Jeffries off after my lukewarm response to One Night With a Prince, but after getting this for free and really enjoying her Series Story Arc workshop, I'm definitely giving her a second chance.
Outcast, by Joan Johnston.
Found a huge pile of these in the goody room. Sounds intriguing (hero with mental issues?).
Sins of a Wicked Duke, by Sophie Jordan.
I discovered the last copy of this in the Goody Room, thanks to my preternationally-good timing, I suppose. The cover is gorgeous, and the story is about a girl who disguises herself as a footman. I'm both intrigued and wary - footmen are supposed to be tall and have sexy calves. How sexy are our heroine's calves going to be, exactly? And how tall will she be, since I doubt any image-conscious duke worth his salt would hire a short, slight footman.
Lord of Legends, Susan Krinard.
Harlequin signing. The hero is a unicorn. 'Nuff said.
The Concubine, by Jade Lee.
I won this at the Gathering by asking a question of the Q&A panel of Prism winners. I'm really excited to read this one - it's a Harlequin Historical set in ancient China, and Jade Lee in person is AWESOME. It pissed me off to no small degree to hear from Lee that the sales for this book tanked because the setting was in Asia! GRRR!
Since the Surrender, by Julie Anne Long.
I count this as a free RWA book because I ordered it with the money I got trading in my $25 Barnes and Noble gift card I won at the RWA Online Chapter party, and boy am I glad I did! Can't wait to read it!
Blood Magic, Jennifer Lyon.
Actually, I honestly can't remember where I found this - either in my goody bag or in the goody room. Either way, it has witches in it. Witches can be good.
Windswept, Ann Macela.
I won this at the RWA Online Party - or rather, I traded my $25 Barnes and Noble giftcard (the first one I won) for it, because we don't have Barnes and Nobles in Canada. I'm excited for this one - it has a gorgeous cover!
A Warrior's Taking, by Margo Maguire.
Picked this one up at the Avon signing because it was the first in a series by an author I was unfamiliar with. Maguire later took part in a workshop I attended about the high-concept historical. Cheesy cover aside, the time-travel-historical story could be interesting.
The Bride Price, by Anne Mallory.
Avon signing. Pretty, pretty, pretty cover.
For the Earl's Pleasure, by Anne Mallory.
Katiebabs let me have this from her pile of unwanted books at RWA. She was dismayed that it was a paranormal (not that she doesn't like paranormals, but rather this book is obviously marketed more as a historical - there's no mention of magic even on the back blurb), but now that I know this in advance, maybe I'll enjoy the book more.
Gentlemen Behaving Badly, by Michelle Marcos.
Found this at the St Martin's signing. Sounded good, even with the mantitty cover that looks really, really similar to the cover for Meredith Duran's Bound By Your Touch. I tend to dislike mantitty covers, I think they demean the genre a bit, but a jovial fellow conference-goer expressed her respectful disagreement by pretending to lick the cover. To each their own, I suppose.
A Highlander of Her Own, by Melissa Mayhue.
I picked this one up at the Pocket signing, mainly because I'd met Mayhue at her workshop for creating a good paranormal world. Reading Sir Walter Scott has given me such a horror of phonetically-spelled Scottish accents that I've avoided all Highlander romances, but that's not exactly fair, so I'm starting with Mayhue.
Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard.
Never heard of this author, but I found a hardcover copy of this in my RWA goody bag.
Bedding the Heiress, by Cathy Maxwell.
Snatched this up at the Avon booksigning. I've heard of Cathy Maxwell but I've never read any of her books. This is what I ultimately enjoyed about the booksignings - not just the free stuff, but the chance to try a lot of new authors at once without breaking your bank account.
Four Dukes and a Devil, by Cathy Maxwell, Elaine Fox, Jeaniene Frost, Sophia Nash, and Tracy Anne Warren.
This is an anthology I found at the Avon signing, and I don't try too many of those, although heaven knows I should - it's a great way to discover several new authors at once. It sounds good - a good mix of historical with a touch of paranormal in for kicks.
Scandal of the Black Rose, by Debra Mullins.
I picked this up at the Avon book signing. I hadn't read any Mullins before, and the blurb, with its secret spyness plot, grabbed me.
To Ruin the Duke, by Debra Mullins.
I won this in the Orange County Chapter raffle prize - so now I have two Mullins books to try.
Never Resist Temptation, by Miranda Neville.
I've never read her books, but I saw her at the Avon signing - and within days of the conference's end she Friended me on Facebook! Can't wait to read her book.
A Scotsman In Love, by Karen Ranney.
I normally have a prejudice against Scottish romances, but something about the story just drew me in, and when Katiebabs let me snag a free copy from her box of unwanted books, I couldn't say no!
Rescue Me, by Christy Reece.
This, along with Death Angel, was given to attendees of Linda Howard's luncheon. I'm not at all familiar with romantic suspence, so I'll give this one the ol' college try.
The Professors' Wives' Club, by Joanne Rendell.
Found this baby in the Goody Room. The Goody Room, while not completely comprised of free books like the popular myth, does often have books in it - the problem is that they tend to go SUPER FAST so it's usually the luck of timing.
How to Knit a Wild Bikini, by Christie Ridgway.
I think this may have been part of the raffle prize I won from the Orange County Chapter of RWA. I'm excited, because I've read one of Ridgway's books and really enjoyed it.
Awaken Me Darkly, by Gena Showalter.
I found this at the Pocket signing (I think), and I picked it up because I was interested in Showalter's series about the Lords who are cursed with the demon imbodiments of human frailty (Wrath, Pain, Doubt, etc. etc.), but she only had her Alien huntress series on the table. Still - sci-fi romance can still be good (as Linnea Sinclair has proven).
Hope's Folly, by Linnea Sinclair.
Found it in my goody bag at the Gathering. YES YES YES YES! Too bad Linnea Sinclair couldn't make it to RWA - I'd love to have met her.
Bad to the Bone, by Jeri Smith-Ready.
Found this one at the Pocket Book signing, and since I'd met Jeri Smith-Ready beforehand at the Gathering and really loved her contribution to the Q&A panel afterwards, picking it up and asking her to sign it was a no-brainer. It is the second in her series, but she assured me it wouldn't leave me lost.
Storm Glass, by Maria V. Snyder.
I was surprised as hell to find this at the Harlequin booksigning, but pleased - since the Book Smugglers wuv her very much.
Heart of the Wolf, by Terry Spear.
It came with the RWA Harlequin tote at registration. Another chance to try an interesting paranormal.
Rewriting Monday, by Jodi Thomas.
This book caught my eye a while ago and wouldn't let go. Small-town setting? Check. Editor/publisher hero? Check and check! Thanks to the Barnes and Noble giftcard I won, I ordered this as soon as I got back from Washington.
Sin and Scandal in England, by Melody Thomas.
I picked this up at the Avon signing, because I looove historicals. It was either this, or Wild and Wicked in Scotland - and even though Scotland had the prettier cover, my terror of having to translate dialogue like "I dinnae ken why ye et so muckle haggis" kept me away.
Winter Heat, by Vicky Lewis Thompson, Jade Lee, and Anna DeStefano.
I got this one at DeStefano's workshop about revising and editing your manuscript. I'm a little ashamed of this one because I whined for it. Everyone who asked a question was supposed to get a book at the end, but by the workshop's end there was a mad dash and no books left. I moped a bit about how I'd asked a question, and someone very nice and very tolerant of my whining childishness offered me their copy. I have very low social skills and read people's emotions very poorly, and I tend to blow my social mistakes out of proportion so I'm not sure if I was a whining baby or if someone at RWA was just really nice.
The Panther & the Pyramid, by Bonnie Vanak.
I came over to buy her latest book, The Lady and the Libertine, because Kristie J had raved about her - and she gave me this book absolutely free, just because it was Kristie J's favourite!
Tempted by His Kiss, Tracy Anne Warren.
Avon signing. PRETTY PRETTY PRETTY pretty pretty pretty cover. Also - I liked her workshop about getting six-figure deals selling historicals.
The Lady Flees Her Lord, by Michele Ann Young.
I caught a copy of this at the Sourcebooks signing. I'd had no idea Sourcebooks published any historicals that weren't Georgette Heyer's, so colour me surprised and delighted.
And that's about it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've suddenly become really really REALLY behind in my reading.