Vampire Diaries Convention & Meeting Damon Salvatore.... WIN FREE BOOKS!

What the Heart Wants on Kindle
The weekend of August 16th, I attended a Vampire Diaries convention in Dallas. While I expected to have a great time (I am obsessed with the show, so anything related to it had to be great, right?), this event far exceeded my expectations.

I was disappointed that Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Joseph Moran (especially Joseph Morgan!) didn’t attend, but the TVD cast members who were there did a phenomenal job of making this a weekend to remember.
 
Some of the Vampire Diaries convention highlights…
The Q&A sessions were entertaining and informative. The hunters, Vaughn and Connor, did their Q&A together, as did Jeremy (Stephen R. McQueen, Steve McQueen’s grandson) and Matt. They were all funny and interactive with the crowd.

Divine Enemy on Kindle
Of course, the best Q&A was with Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore). He was so gracious and friendly and appreciative of his fans. He is truly a class act. His nickname is ‘Smolderhalder’ and he informed us that Matt Davis, who plays Alaric Saltzman, gave him the name. (Because of Ian’s mesmerizing eyes and this smoldering look he has). Ian seemed a little embarrassed about it. He’s actually pretty unassuming to be so perfect. ;)
Not only was this convention a blast, I made great connections and seemed to generate a great deal of interest in my Vampire Diaries Kindle Worlds books.   
On Saturday night, they held a Founder’s Ball. Jeremy, Matt, Atticus, Vaughn, Micah, Trevor, and Connor were on stage, hosting contests and chatting with the crowd.

Once the official tasks were out of the way, they climbed off the stage and joined the party, dancing in the crowd with fans. It was unexpected and absolutely fabulous (for the young girls. I stayed back and observed.:))

Me and Ian and my friend, Christy.
(I’m on Ian’s left in the stripes)
Ian’s brother, Bob Somerhalder, has a Business called Built of Barnwood. He had a booth at the show, and I had the pleasure of meeting Bob and his lovely wife, Deena. I gave her a post card of my Kindle Worlds Vampire Diaries books, and she asked me to send her the links and offered to help spread the word. The two of them are such nice, down to earth people. Bob came in the auditorium where we were waiting to line up for Ian’s autograph and chatted with us. We told him he had those same ‘Ian eyes’ and he jokingly said he was the ‘original Smolderhalder.’

My favorite moment was meeting Ian Somerhalder and having my picture made with him. We waited in a long, long line, but I would have waited an eternity for the opportunity to see him up close.

When it was my turn, I stepped forward and he gave me a big hug. It was so surreal. I truly couldn’t believe I was actually touching Damon. He had this light, crisp, manly scent. (I think I might have touched his abs. I was in a bit of a daze, but I seem to remember that.) His eyes are even more spectacular in person. He winked at me and gave that crooked grin… Oh my…  (Yes, I’m fifty-two years old but I am a star struck ninny when it comes to people like him.)


Me and my kids at the ball:
During the photo, he squeezed my shoulder tightly and as I was walking away, he held onto my hand until we were out of arms’ reach. It was a moment I will never forget. Sigh…

When it was my turn to get Ian’s autograph, he looked up and winked and greeted me. I knew that was my moment. So I took a deep breath and…my vocal cords froze, and my brain cells evaporated. I couldn’t speak.

My twenty-year old son, Presley, was behind me, and when he stepped up to Ian, here is how the exchange went…(Ian was eating a chocolate gluten-free granola bar)
 
Presley: Hey man, since you have your mouth full, I won’t ask for a kiss.
Ian: (Chuckles) I don’t know, man, it’s pretty tempting.
Presley: I’m sure it is.
Ian: Let’s settle for this. (Lifts his fist and they fist bump)
Presley: All right, but I’ll tell people we kissed.
Ian: (Laughs) Okay, you do that, brother.

I thought…Geez, my son is cool as a cucumber, chatting him up like they’re old friends, and I’m a blithering idiot.

Below is a pic of my son and Torrey Devito, who plays Meredith Fell on the show, and is currently going through a divorce with Paul Wesley, who plays Stefan Salvatore, the other guy in the love triangle.
So…that’s about it. A spectacular weekend! I highly, highly recommend that fans of the show attend a convention if possible. It is a treat you’ll never forget. This event was put on by Creation Entertainment.  I’m planning to attend Eyecon in November in Atlanta. I cannot wait!
What are your favorite tv programs? Have you ever, or would you ever, want to attend a convention put on by that show? If you could write and publish books related to any tv show, past or present, what would it be?
TO BE ENTERED IN A CONTEST TO WIN A FREE KINDLE COPY OF EACH OF MY VAMPIRE DIARIES BOOKS, JUST TELL ME IN YOUR COMMENT WHICH VAMPIRE DIARIES CHARACTER IS YOUR FAVORITE (If you don't watch the show, you won't have a favorite, but then, you wouldn't want the books either :-)

If you would like to try to win them for someone else, list their favorite character in the comment) I will draw the winner next Wednesday, August 28.

Flying High

I've flown to Vegas and back for the Jimmy Thomas RNConvention and it's official...I LOVE to fly!

Honestly, I was terrified that I'd be one of those people who'd be airsick. Not so, as a matter of fact, I particularly enjoy the take-offs, landings, any sign of turbulence, and when the plane makes the sharply angled turns. FUN! Wish I could afford to do it more often.

And Vegas. What can I say? It was exhausting! I developed a serious case of cankles on the second day and didn't see my ankles again for the rest of the week. The flight home was painful for my legs and feet. But, it was fabulous too!

I hated to leave because I'd just begun to relax and see a few things, such as the sights and sounds of Fremont street at night. It's one giant party, with fabulous light shows overhead, street vendors, live bands, people dressed up as everything from the Transformers to Gerard Butler in 300, to Rick James and Michael Jackson. Of course there are always Elvis look a likes and girls dressed in feathers. It's amazing!

The badge we won from InD'tale Review Magazine...
the ONLY Review magazine for independent authors and publishers.
I saw a few poor souls holding cardboard signs and claiming to be homeless and asking for donations so they could eat...or not...who knows?  Mostly though, I saw couples, walking hand in hand, families with toddlers in strollers, older people experiencing it for the first time, like myself...and security guards...cops. Lots and lots of cops...both men and women, making their presence known and warding off any signs of trouble. Honestly, I was alone, and felt completely safe and comfortable. The place was lit up like it was daytime, except when they toned down the lights for the light show. It was awesome and I want to go back with my hubby.

2013 RNC Logo
As far as gambling is concerned...it's not my thing. My soul sista/roommate, Arlene, kept saying "You're in VEGAS, you have to gamble a little!" Poor thing, she did mostly everything alone because I was busy with convention things all day and by the end of the night I was too pooped and in too much pain to do any more walking. She left two days before I did, so didn't get to see me actually put a $5 bill into a penny machine and play for a whole hour. Whoo hoo, big spender, right?

Romance Novel Convention #1: Fabulous! Jimmy Thomas did an awesome job, considering it was his first and in my opinion, tried to take too much of it on himself. NOBODY can do that by themselves. But he's promised that next year's will be more organized, bigger, and better. Knowing what I do about the man, I totally believe him and will attempt to do everything I can to attend next year's July 2014 convention.


 Fabulous Elvis tribute artist...
I didn't have a chance to attend as many classes as I wanted to...sometimes there were two or three I wanted to attend going on at the same time. Sometimes I'd take someone else's place as a volunteer so someone else could go to a class. I determined early on that this convention was all about networking and meeting people and getting my name out there. I believe I accomplished my goal. And by golly, they WILL know how to pronounce my last name at the next convention! I lost count of how many times I said "It's "Lay'-jhay ... not Lee-ger!"

The entertainment set up by Jimmy Thomas was amazing! An Elvis tribute artist who is professional enough to be the first one invited to perform inside the gates of Graceland. The voice, the gold lame' jacket and skinny black slacks, the hair, the dance moves...all amazingly similar to the KING of pop. Such a talent.


My soul-sista, Arlene Vincent (right), and me.
After knowing her for nearly forty years,
this is the first time we traveled together!
Acts included quick change artists and magicians, singers, belly dancers, and Julian Mora of International Men of Steel, performing an awesome show to Jon Bon Jovi's "Wanted, Dead or Alive". What can I say? The crowd went wild!

A costume ball with two huge props: one a gorgeous dress made of damaged pages of discarded books from a local library. The other, a huge opened book, a "Once Upon a Time..." page with gorgeous scenery on the opposite page. Both were exquisite pieces of artwork.

The costume party was so much fun and ALL the guys danced their feet off with us gals...even "Chief Running Bare-Chested" Jimmy Thomas. It was actually the first time any of us got to see him cut loose a little and have some fun.


On Screen...
Did I mention it was a family affair for him? Both his younger brother, Billy, and his mom, Cynthia, were also in attendance and working their butts off with everyone else. I mustn't forget to mention the appearance of "Big Mike" Michael O'Hearn, a previous holder of the Mr. Universe title. Yes, I got pictures with him...:D.

And then there were the Casanova Suitors, mingling with us all week, pitching in, helping, being perfectly adorable gentlemen. All four of the guys were so friendly and talkative. Jimmy certainly knows how to pick them. They called bingo...even played strip bingo one day, which I'm sad to say, I missed. I heard they stopped at the briefs or boxers.

They performed live, acting out scenes as someone narrated from three different excerpts of books. It was laugh out loud hilarious!  They danced to "Open Arms" and "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" to the delight of everyone in attendance. They answered questions, smiled for us, flexed for us, and put up with dozens of screaming women judging their handsome, though well-covered derrieres. There could only be one winner, alas, and Shawn Cunningham was voted Mr. RNC Casanova while the others congratulated him.

The book on screen...
I met the charismatic board members of InD'Tale review magazine, including the fabulous T.J. McKay, it's president/owner. InD'tale hosted the first ever RONE' award ceremony, which I was honored to be nominated for. The first anthology, Hearts, Hearths & Holidays, published by my Cajunflair Publishing company, was up for an award, and though we didn't win, we got certificates for First Honorable Mention...which is equivalent to first runner up. Not too shabby, but I'm determined to win next year.


Arlene and I stuffing SWAG bags before the convention.
Speaking of winning, my sweet-as-can-be friend and fellow Ass Cheek Angel, Kellie Kamryn, won for her book, The Perfect Score, in a different category and I was honored to go on stage and accept for her. It couldn't have gone to a more worthy author and Mama Angel is so unbelievably proud of Baby Angel!

All in all, I came back with super positive feelings for the RNC convention and Jimmy Thomas, as well as the lovely ladies of InD'tale magazine. I will be pinching pennies to try to go again next year, when I'll attempt to get my hubby to go with me. I think I could have a blast with him in Vegas, don't you?

Until next time,
Lori

Click this link to see a video of my week at RNC in Vegas!
 
Lori Leger
Writer of Contemporary Romance with a Cajun Flair
Cajunflair Publishing: Owner
Three series...Three ways to feel the love...
La Fleur de Love / Halos and Horns / Seasons of Love
Twitter: @lleger641
Find Lori Leger on Goodreads, Facebook, and Pinterest (lleger641)

What's in a Name

Today we have Vicki Batman, author of San Diego or Bust, sharing her story of the name game many authors face. Comment (and be sure to leave your email address) to enter a drawing to win a $15 gift card to Amazon!!  Take it away, Vicki...

***
Somewhere near the title of this post, you'll see this: Vicki Batman.

I bet you are wondering if I am actually named that or is she using a pen name?  It's real. *giggles* I get to say I married a superhero. (Yes, Handsome gets embarrassed when I say it, too.)

I knew I was in trouble when we went for our marriage license and the clerk called, "Bateman?" We looked at each other wondering is that us? and finally straightened her out.

Some well-meaning relative told UPI about us when a new Batman movie came out way back when. After all, he's tall, dark-headed like Batman. I'm Batman's girlfriend, Vicki. And he really had an assistant--this is so funny--named Robin. We were splashed all over the paper, radio, television. We couldn't answer the phones.

So when I began writing, lots of people asked if Batman is my pen name. I said no and then told them I couldn't make up one as good as that. Truthfully, if it wasn't my name, I doubt I could use it. DC Comics owns "Batman."

That got me to thinking about pen names. I asked my fellow Plotting Princesses about how they chose their name and why:

Yes (using one): 5       No (aren't using one): 6

Anonymity: "I wanted to have a different, non-academic persona in Romancelandia. And I wanted some privacy since I write really steamy. My children were in Catholic grade school when I became published, and I wanted them to have privacy as well."  The publisher "loved my penname because it screamed historical romance to them."

My last name "is extremely rare and hubby didn't want me to use it in case I picked up a stalker."

Branding: "I decided to use my real name…because I have already established a presence under my real name by teaching online classes to authors."

Because "my name and my brand are compatible. If I should suddenly decide to publish something steamy, I'd use a pen name because it would be outside the scope of my brand." My name "sounds British and proper enough to fit with my Regencies and yet, it still works with my U.S. set contemporary YA fantasy."

A Better Name: "…my real name is extremely common both first and last. Trying to get a website and other social media with my real name was impossible."

Didn't Change: "My husband insisted that I use my real name because he wanted everyone to know his wife was an author."

"Would have liked a pen last name, but couldn't find one that made sense and had a website available."

"I didn't see any real reason to change my name. …I wanted to make it easy for people to find my books."

"I'm just getting started but planning to use my real name. Maybe nobody but my friends and family will buy my books, but even they won't find me unless I use my real name."

"I used my real name because it was too hard to come up with a pen name. Plus, I just wanted everyone to know that was ME and MY BOOK."

Other: When I ventured "into deep erotica, I knew a completely unrelated pen name would need to be created, but the husband was too horrified; so those stories are locked away in a vault."

"I didn't want my cozy readers to pick up one of my R-rated mysteries and be mad because of the language and sex." However, "I use my real <last> name because it is unusual and because I am vain and want people to know it's me."

So Vicki??? I use my real name. I came up with a couple that would work okay, but using Batman… Well, no one forgets you easily. Unfortunately, Facebook didn't like it and I was booted off for almost three weeks. A campaign of emails, friends, and information got me back on.
My phone calls are returned. And if I get one asking for Bateman, I hang up. After all, I'm not Bateman, "I'm Batman."

How about you? Do you use a pen name or your real name and why?

Book Blurb:

Blurb for San Diego or Bust:   Is her Mr. Right the right Mr. Right?
http://vickibatman.blogspot.com

Author Bio:



Like some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm--the list is endless.

Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories to TRUE LOVE, TRUE ROMANCE, TRUE CONFESSIONS, NOBLE ROMANCE PUBLISHING, LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, AND MUSEITUP PUBLISHING. She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010.

Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??"


Contest! Win Books!




Regardless of your idea of a good time at the beach, pull up a lawn chair, help yourself to a piƱa colada, and let’s have some fun.

Beach Games!!!
Each month, BRA (Beach Read Authors) will host a game for readers. This month’s game is...

AUGUST SCAVENGER HUNT
Do you like to read? Do you like to read FREE books? Sure you do!
Win free ebooks from BRA by answering the 9 easy questions listed below, and then submitting your answers to kimhornsby@yahoo.com. There will be 4 winners!! Yes, you heard me right! Four! That’s 36 free books leaving BRA Beach Headquarters later this month.
Winners will be announced August 25th- in time for Labor Day reading!

Here you go, Beach Babes…

1.       Lori Leger writes contemporary romances, often set in Louisiana. In Someday Somebody, which country singer is Lori connected to from Book Two in her La Fleur de Love series, and why? http://www.lorilegerauthor.com

2.       Alexa Grace writes best-selling, sexy romantic suspense/police procedurals. In Deadly Deception, what are the two main characters’ names? www.alexa-grace.net

3.       Christine M. Fairchild trained with the FBI to write An Eye For Danger. What's the name of Jules' furry four-legged best friend in that romantic thriller? Answer found on Christine’s BRA site. http://beachreadauthors.blogspot.com/p/christine-m-fairchild.html

4.       Lisa Costantino’s Maiden’s Veil won top pick for Women’s Fiction in Chanticleer’s Indie Awards last year. Who is the Arthurian character alluded to in Maiden’s Veil? The answer can be found at www.lisacostantino.com

5.       Alicia Dean is an author, editor, and writes for Kindle Worlds: The Vampire Diaries. In Liberty Awakened, who is Liberty Delacourt related to? www.AliciaDean.com

6.       Rebecca J. Clark is a personal trainer when she’s not writing. In Shameless, the hero owns gyms. What did Rebecca want to do for a living before she wanted to be a writer? http://rebeccajclark.com

7.       Diana Layne is a multi-award-winning romance author. Find Trust No One and answer this question: Since MJ Thornberg retired from the spy business, what is her new profession? http://www.dianalayne.com/suspensethriller.html

8.       Pat White is a Harlequin author, screenwriter, and big celebrity on this beach. In her bestseller Love on the Ropes, what is Jason McBain's real job, other than being a pro wrestler named Jack the Stripper? http://www.patwhitewriter.com

9.       Kim Hornsby once sang backup for Jamie Foxx. In Necessary Detour, what is the rock star, Goldy, running from? http://amzn.com/B00AU50M76


Thanks for playing our August Beach Game
and Good Luck!!!!

Remember to submit your answers to kimhornsby@yahoo.com
Subject "BRA books" - before August 24th at midnight.

Off to The Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas!

Hey, y'all!
 
I've spent the last four years of my life writing and publishing...six full length novels...four short stories/novellas. I have two series that I write and self-publish, La Fleur de Love series and the Halos & Horns series, and a third anthology series that I contribute to as one of several authors, the Seasons of Love series. Lately, it seems I spend more time on my notebook promoting and networking than writing. It's a necessary evil, as all you self/indie publishers out there know.

A couple of times a year, as funding allows, I get to attend conferences and conventions.

I've been preparing for one particular Writer/Reader convention for the past several months: Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. After weeks of feeling as though it would never get here, it's here. I leave tomorrow morning, my first trip to Vegas on my first flight ever. I'm leaving from a smaller airport in Lake Charles, LA to meet my best friend and soul sister in Houston, then on to Vegas. This time tomorrow morning, we'll be there. I'll get to meet, in person, all the women I've been friending and connecting with on Facebook.

My first flight, you say? How can that be? Everyone flies in this day and age, right? Though I've attended several writers conventions over the past four years all throughout the south, I've always driven.  Driving has its advantages, ladies. You don't have to spend a small fortune shipping your swag and books and raffle baskets ahead of time to avoid over weight limit luggage. And I'm pretty sure I could drive to Vegas and back on less than what I'm paying for my flight and luggage fees.

But, instead, I decided to put on my big girl panties and take my first flight, the first leg of the flight over there alone. The flight home completely alone, as I'm staying two days longer than my friend. Have I been afraid to fly? It's not really the flying part that I find threatening, but rather the landing really hard part...sans landing gear. Strangely enough, the fact that this particular month is a high risk for terrorist activity hasn't weighed nearly as heavily on my mind as the possibility of the airline losing my luggage and me being stuck in Vegas with limited funds and the single change of clothes I packed in my carry-on. But the odds of that happening my very first flight must be low, right?

Really? Lower than having a set of monozygotic twins? That's identical twins, by the way, which occurs 3 times in every 1,000 births today, and at a much lower rate in 1980 when I had mine. Yes, I'm special that way.

Here's another phenomenon I want to tell you about. I'm going to Vegas with two friends. One, the soul sister I've known for 36 years. The other is a writer friend I've known for a couple of years. It seems the three of us have had a run of bad luck over the last couple of weeks.
 
     Me: Tripped over my own feet and slammed my forehead into a nearby doorjamb. Lucky right? Well, though I hit ONLY my head, it blackened both my eyes. One completely and the second only partially. I still see traces of it under one eye, though it's somewhat hide-able with good makeup.
 
     My soul sister: Two weeks ago discovered her husband had a heart problem and didn't know if she'd be able to make it. He had surgery a week ago and they put in a stent. It seems he's well enough for her to go on the trip.
 
     My author friend: Three weeks ago began having problems with a kidney stone and didn't know if she could make it. She passed the stone on her own a few days ago and will be able to make it.

What do you say? Do you think our run of bad luck is over with? They say it comes in threes...if that's the case, maybe we've had our share and good luck will follow us the entire time we're there. Hmmm...let's hope so.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that Jimmy Thomas, the top male model for romance books, is putting on this convention? They are having a Casanova contest! I'm including the convention link with his picture.

Maybe my luck is changing for the better already! :)


Find Lori on:
Facebook (Page): facebook.com/lorilegerauthor
email: lleger641@yahoo.com / Cajunflair@lorilegerauthor.com / lleger641@gmail.com
CajunflairPublishing@gmail.com