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'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,

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)


  1. WOW! Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Wish I could have gone. So it sounds like you stayed downtown? I LOVE it downtown. We like to stay there, but go 'visit' the strip. Downtown is so cozy and everything is so trekking for miles and miles in the hot sun. Fremont street is fantastic, isn't it? I also wish we'd won, but HM is pretty cool! Thank you for reporting. Maybe we can all go next year.

  2. Sounds like you had an awesome time! I've never been to Vegas either. Would love to remedy that. Someday. :)

  3. Very glad that you enjoyed flying instead of being scared by it. So much to see of the world, would be a shame not to be able to travel, especially now that you'll need to be doing book tours :) Let's Paris?!!!

    Hope to be flying somewhere with you someday for a book event!

  4. Thanks for reporting in, sounds like a great time! Congrats on the first honorable mention! And I'm not much of a gambler myself, $5 sounds like a good amount to me. :)