-If you sleep through your 4am alarm and finish the last part of your packing in a mad dash for the Uber that only took three minutes to arrive, there’s an excellent chance you will show up in Vegas lacking certain essential items. Like shoes. Also, contact solution and deodorant.

-In that dire situation, you will want to make sure to be friends with Reesa Herberth & Michelle Moore because they will stop at a drugstore while touring the Strip and leave a goodie bag on your door handle after midnight. This makes them The Best Ever.

-Also, if the only footwear you have for all of RT is your favorite pair of black, knee-high boots? You will loathe those boots with the fire of a thousand suns by Sunday.

-Everyone who lives in Vegas will look at you as if you’ve sprouted a second, less attractive head when you mention that you want to walk over to the Strip. “Walk? You can’t walk. It’s too dangerous. You’ll die.”

-The most dangerous part of walking from your hotel to the Strip will be the gale force winds that mean you have to clutch at your skirt in order not to Marilyn Monroe it all the way across the bridge over the highway. No doubt locals find this highly entertaining. You will not die.

-Seriously, Vegas people should walk more. Also, ban smoking indoors. The first morning you arrive, you will walk through the casino/lobby of your hotel and think, “Oh ho! Someone is sneaking a cigarette at the slot machines!” By Sunday, this will no longer be an at-all amusing mistake.

-Despite not having been a bartender for 15+ years, it will only take one jackass biker dude in a restaurant to bring out your bouncer side again. Note to jackasses: Vegas, all appearances to the contrary, is not a zoo. Do not turn and stare and insist on taking pictures of random women with colorful hair and tattoos. Ex-bartenders will be all over your ass.

-If your hotel room is in a tower called Ipanema, you will find yourself pretending to be Antonio Carlos Jobim multiple times a day. “Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from…” Sadly, the rest of the hotel guests will not appreciate your off-key singing in the halls.

-Jobim might make some kind of sense, but there is no excuse for the repeated bursts of song from Oklahoma. And Simon & Garfunkel. Get a grip, girl.

-Audra North plays therapist like nobody’s business. You will feel rejuvenated as hell after talking to her. That’s because she is magic.

-Every entrée in Vegas is as big as your head. Wednesday’s excellent Indian for dinner will be Thursday’s lunch and Friday’s breakfast. On Saturday, you will want a snack and will consider the remaining leftovers in the mini-fridge, but that will really be pushing it.

-Being a Riptide author is never more wonderful than when they show up at your table at the big book signing event with a goodie bag full of water and snacks. This will make you very popular with your friends.

-The people pushing the carts from table to table at the dim sum place are very intimidating. Somehow you will end up saying yes to four shrimp dishes, which wouldn’t be terrible except for the gnawing required to bite into the one wrapped in sheets of tofu.

-When people stop you in the hall for 48hrs after your Crossover Romance panel to tell you how much they loved it, you will want to give a giant squishing hug of thanks to the fabulous Karen Stivali for pitching and organizing the whole thing.

-When Megan Erickson cracks a tentacle porn joke at said panel, it will make the entire crowd bust up laughing when your hand hits the air a split second later to offer book recs for that.

-At the big book signing, when you end up sitting between Zoraida Cordova and Heidi Cullinan, you will take notes on their cool display ideas and vow to do better with your own next year. Pop-up signs and indie bookstore-like note cards with brief descriptions of each book available, man. Steal those ideas.

-From time to time, you will get emotional and start to cry. When the entire Riptide Cards Against Humanity crowd shouts their “We miss you”s for Sarah Lyons. When talking about the reader messages you received from teens who read the YA LGBTQ charity anthology How We Began. When you talk with a friend about some rough times and how you’ve been struggling lately. All of these emotions are really, really good.

-Slot machines, however, are bad. No waterfall of coins will spill out at your feet, raining your tired ass boots in silver. You will push a button a dozen times and your money will be gone. EVEN IF YOU READ THE FOUR PAGES OF INSTRUCTIONS. Those instructions are a total fake-out. All you do is push the button and it tells you that you lose. This is way less exciting than they make it look in the movies, damn it.

-Nana Malone, Amy Daws, Lena Hart, and Ana E. Ross will make you whip out your phone to take notes during their awesome Looking (and Publishing) Beyond Amazon panel. You will then proceed to spend the next 24hrs cornering your friends and making them listen to all of the cool stuff you learned. Most useful panel ever.

-You will have excellent intentions to stay out late and party hard in Vegas, if only because you don’t have to arrange for a babysitter. This will not happen, not once. The most exciting thing you will do after dark is force your long-suffering roomie to slop goop from Lush on your faces and put a picture of that on Facebook. This is how rock stars party, you hear.

-The fountains at the Bellagio look super classy, but will sometimes do their thing to One Singular Sensation from A Chorus Line. This will perhaps provoke more unintentional singing by you, for which you should take no blame whatsoever. That song is damn infectious.

-If you are sitting next to Heidi Cullinan at the big book fair, you will inevitably spend most of the day telling readers how awesome your mutual cover artist Kanaxa is.

-When you get to meet that very same Kanaxa in the flesh for the first time, you will fangirl and hug her so hard for all of the awesome cover art.

-Breakfast with your agency means both that you get to hang out with the awesome Courtney Miller-Callihan, Tamsen Parker, Audra North, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Alyssa Cole and Piper Drake and that you won’t need to eat again for the rest of the day. Those Hash House A Go Go breakfast platters are ridiculous.

-Chocolate cake for dinner with a mocha milkshake for dessert is an excellent choice.

-The readers! You will meet Emilia, the woman with the best cosplay wardrobe ever, and Karen, whose amazing Off Campus page in her scrapbook lets you check that one off the bucket list. Plus, the mother-daughter duo with the dozen bags of books, the kickass librarians, the readers who are aspiring writers, the ones who will ask you if your kid got home safe from school by himself after the panel where you mentioned that, and a whole bunch of people who will tell you that The Girl Next Door is their favorite book in the series. The readers will be 100% nonstop awesome.

-And the writers! There is nothing better in the world than having the chance to talk shop with all of these fabulously smart and funny women.

-Meeting Amelia Vaughn from Riptide Publishing and spending time with her throughout the week will absolutely be one of the best parts of the convention. It will turn out that you have twin sons separated at birth and you will want to be her new BFF.

-By Sunday in the wee hours when she wakes you up at 2:30am so you don’t miss your flight, you will be 100% certain that Tamsen Parker is the bestest.

-And by the time you get home to Chicago, eager to snuggle up with the kid and the kitties, you will already be ready to register for RT2017. Thank you for everything, you fabulous booklovers, you!



  1. “…and when she passes he sighs, but she doesn’t see.” 😀

    GOD THE SMOKING. I used to live out there. I forgot. I FORGOT. Vegas has truly lost its charm. The folks at the convention, however… Utterly charming, present company included.

    Can’t wait to start Callie, Unwrapped!

    • I remember when they decided to ban smoking in bars and restaurants in Chicago and we were all convinced it would be the end of the industry. Instead, it just meant that everyone got to go home at the end of a night out with clothes that didn’t reek of smoke. Even us smokers (as I was at the time) enjoyed that part! It was so strange to be somewhere where smoking was allowed indoors.

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