When my daughter Sharon asked me to go to Las Vegas with her to Romantic Times, a Readers’ and Writers’ Conference I had no idea what was in store for me. I imagined it would be lectures etc and arranged for friends who live in Georgia to come over and spend time with me while Sharon was at her convention. I am so pleased they told me in January that they couldn’t come. Instead I became Sharon’s Personal Assistant and had a fabulous time.
I had no idea that so many people would recognise Sharon, the Aussie with the long pink hair and my time would be filled with laughter and fun. Instead of sitting around while Sharon did her thing, I was able to embrace the concept of Romantic Times, lining up for some Readers sessions as well as being PA. I discovered Swag – I’d never heard the term before. The generosity of some authors was amazing and I have lots of memorabilia and books to remind me of the time spent in Vegas. Having been a Sales Representative for 16 years, it was easy to revert to Sales Rep Mode and develop some lines to use when chatting to people… while waiting in line for coffee, in the lift/elevator, walking around Rio Casino or even in the streets of Vegas much to Sharon’s embarrassment. But I believe she sold the odd few books to people who said I met your Mum…
As the week progressed, Sharon would tell me what sessions she required my assistance for that day. Otherwise I selected what would interest me as a reader to go to. I really enjoyed the Reader Session: Heroes with Handcuffs: Beyond the Badge and even had my Mug Shot taken by a local Sherriff. When Sharon was involved as a Pitch Wars Moderator, I had fun handing out bags as people entered the room and helped out where needed. Some of the party games were awesome to play too. We also found the need to line up early for some of the most popular sessions – at least an hour before they opened.
Different terminology between Australian and American language was amazing. While at the Book Fair, I had noticed that announcements were being made for various authors’ giveaways etc. So I decided to find the announcer and tell them about Sharon’s Australian Lucky Dip – each person who bought a book would receive a mystery prize (brought over from Australia) by dipping their hand into the container and pick up a prize wrapped in tissue so they couldn’t see what they selected. Although I explained it at the time, someone still came over to see what an Australian Lucky Dip was before they would announce it over the PA system. I cannot thank enough the Texan Mom of an author there who helped me out the first day of the book fair by telling me what she did as a PA for her daughter.
On the last night in Vegas, Kathryn Falk, the founder of RT, was near the lift while Sharon was farewelling some of her friends. I went over to thank her for creating such a fun event 35 years ago and ended up, along with Sharon, at Kathryn’s room – or rooms I should say, the penthouse suite, for drinks, a chat and admire the night lights of Vegas. It was a lovely way to end our Las Vegas stay.
Lynda Locke, the mother of an Australian writer, recently discovered she likes book conventions aimed at readers. She lives in beautiful Queensland with her dog Fred. In her spare time she beta reads her daughter’s books and has scored the nickname “The Book-Pimping Granny” because of her shameless promotion of her daughter at book events. She has also recently discovered she likes having her photo taken with cover models.