Sorry I’ve been so MIA but life has been crazy! Awesome, but crazy. Right as school ended, I went to the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans. I go to RT every year and I always have a great time, but this one was absolutely fabulous. It was in NOLA! My favorite place on earth! So how could I not have fun?
I also got to be on a panel with Charlaine Harris, who is sorta my ultimate hero, so I was fangirling like crazy. I was lucky enough to be picked to participate in Charlaine’s Sookieverse Anthology Dead But Not Forgotten, which came out in audiobook that week. So the antho participants attending the convention were taken to breakfast by the lovely folks at Audible and then we were on a panel together.
I was on a bunch of other panels and had a very busy con overall, and the cherry on top was receiving an RT Book Reviewers Award for Best UF Protagonist. RT was my first big convention as a published author, which I attended to promoteÂ Tempest Rising,Â and it felt very “full circle” to receive this award for the sixth, and final, book in the Jane True series, Tempest Reborn.
Here are some pics from the con, in no particular order:
I think I make a great romance heroine, don’t you?
I had to include this one of Mark Henry, snapped seconds after he first got to the con, road-piÃ±a colada in hand. We always look to Mark to set the tone.
Jaye Wells and I roomed together. And ate a lot together. Here she is having a moment with our first dessert experience of the con, which involved a brownie made with foie gras. Speaking of setting the tone…
In general there was a lot of eating. Mark ate all the mystery shellfish, which we appreciated. Here he is, going in with what I think is a reasonable amount of trepidation for something that came from a shell that we didn’t order and can’t identify:
And Jaye spent a lot of time in contemplation. While wearing a nun’s habit.
Here we are, dressed as nuns, at the absinthe bar in Pirate Alley and eating beignets. This is the kind of thing that just happens in New Orleans, where everything is dreamlike and sticky with powdered sugar. Why do you think I visit so many times a year?
I had beautiful dates for the awards ceremony, Ms. Jaye and Ms. Liliana Hart:
And I got to take home this beauty:
And my dates and I may have hit the road sodies ourselves a few times:
Also the Tums:
And we baptized the stunningly gorgeous courtyard of the W French Quarter with one of our famed Live Erotic Readings. The other patrons were thrilled:
And just in case you forgot, I won an award (and wore a ladybug dress):
So RT was amazing. Even more amazing than usual, but how can anything not be amazing in New Orleans? I took two days of actual vacation time after the con, and spent them mostly by the pool:
Besides being a pool bunny, I also got to spend quality time with some friends from New Orleans, especially my girl Jennette, the Hooping Queen of NOLA. It was great to catch up!
Meanwhile, I really needed those few days of respite. For those of you who don’t know, I’m also a full-time professor, and this year was a doozie at work. A good doozie! But a doozie.
First I went up for promotion, which is a LOT of work. I was successful and am now an Associate Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing, but the work and stress that went into it was a lot. We also did program review for the English program, and I was on that committee. So that was a lot of work all year, too.
But the big change for me occurred when my colleague who directs our MFA in Writing Popular Fiction got sick. He’s doing much better, but was out for the whole second semester. Dr. Lee McClain and I stepped up to co-direct the program, so that was a ton of work that I was not anticipating. It all turned out well, however. My colleague Dr. Wendland is doing much better (and just released his awesome new SF novel The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes) and should be back in the saddle soon. But it turned out he was in the process of semi-retiring anyway, and was planning on stepping down as director at the end of the coming year. So he and I will continue to co-direct the MFA program this coming year, and then I’ll be director when he steps down. Which means I’m about eight years ahead of my career plan, but that’s fine by me. I really enjoy the MFA and getting more involved is something I find challenging in the best way, and equally rewarding.
And last week we had the first residency with me as one of the directors. It was soooooo busy but also very, very fun. The students are great and it was very rewarding to be the public face of the program, doing the speeches at graduation, etc. So I had a great time.
I am also exhausted.
So I’m going to cut this short (okay, admittedly kinda long) and go do laundry. I’m leaving for a few days to go visit friends in Vermont, and after that the summer will be packed with work. I’ve got revisions on two books waiting for me, a program to run, a new course to develop for our undergraduate creative writing department…and I’ve also got my little house to enjoy, my fabulous friends to have fun with, and my very patient boyfriend to cuddle.
My life has been extra crazy, but I am extra grateful for all of my opportunities and the wonderful people I have to rely on for incredible amounts of support.
Also for taxidermied griffins, to help me express my school spirit.
3 thoughts on “Where Have I Been All Your Life?”
Hugs and kisses to you, as well as congrats on the tenure and soon-to-be-Director thing. I blink for a minute and you've gone and done even more wonderful things than usual. <3
Sounds busy, but sounds wonderfully fulfilling! Have fun, Nicole!
Thanks Helen! You were one of my first great working mentors, so I owe it all to you! 😉 And I've not got Tenure yet, the uni has a graduated system but success at this promotion is indicative of tenure success, so that's good! 😉 But thank you anyway and you can wish me luck in 3 years when tenure strikes. LOL
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