Mondays Are Hell – The Demons I Met at the 2012 RT Book Lovers Convention

Demons were everywhere at the 2012 RT Book Lover Convention, no really, the place was full of them, smoking, dripping hellfire, eating Chicago-deep dish, and at the bar, oh lord, at the bar, drinking cranberry juice before heading out onto the dance floor to wiggle it with LMFAO…

“I’m a demon and I know it!”

Here are just some of the demons and devils I met at RT.


Embrace the Blond

Of course, I have to start with the blonde demon that captured my heart, the blonde demon that is Elizabeth Cheryl.  Actually, she was a demon, but then a Wiccan priestess cast a spell and transformed her into an angel.  She’s my BFF at RT until the end of the world and beyond.  I heart her so much.


And then, this one time, at RT, I was in the big Saturday Book Fair, and demons were everywhere, but then Kathryn Falk walked in, the woman who started RT, and the demons took one look at her and fled because she is the personification of power, poise, grace and has been in the book business a long time.  And once you’ve wrestled with authors, reviewers, agents, editors, readers, and aspiring writers, well, demons are easy after all that.

Being a writer is sometimes like walking through hell.  Lucky I have friends.  Jeanne C. Stein and Jodi Thomas were at RT.  They help me with the demons.  And they’re bestselling authors.

Kendaaron. Oui.

Hey!  Is that Kendall Gray?  It is Kendall Gray!. SHE WRITES BOOKS ABOUT WHALES!  Whales, elementals, brave battles to save the world.  With her brassy humor and her hard-girl bravado, well, I thought she was possessed by a demon at first because her hair was green, and green-haired demons are common in Chicago.  But then, when she talked about her book, and how passionate she is about whales and life, well, I knew, she was another angel, and green-haired angels are common in my books.


We’re Kendaaron when we’re together.  Kind of a big deal.


Ciara Knight had a hard time with a demon for a minute, but then she pulled through.  Writers conferences are all about laughing, crying, and the bar, oh lord, the bar.




Lynn Rush, Kendall Grey, Jordan K. Rose, Cole Gibson

And Cole Gibson, who is awesome, also had a run-in with a demon, and it was hard, but this world can get hard, and  we’re just writers trying to make it through another day to string words together on a page.  Which Cole does so well.

And then Liz Pelletier, who is cool and calm, stared down a demon at the bar.  Liz is one of the co-founders of Entangled Press, and we chatted.  All the while, she stared down that demon until it slithered off.  She is a warrior.

Liz In The Middle

Mark Johnson, who has a CD out, and who was a cover model, well, we talked God, Jesus, demons and he bore witness to his beliefs and I haven’t heard a good testimony in awhile, and it felt good.  Like walking in a clean, spring rain, warm with summer.  I hope he reads my book.  I’d like to talk to that guy about it.

 Lori Witt.  Lori, Lori, Lori.  Lori doesn’t believe in demons.  She believes in working hard, writing books, and living in Omaha.  Believe me, it takes faith to live in Omaha.  We talked and she turned out to be incredibly quotable.  “I don’t like flesh people”.  Ha!  And, “Writers are expected to be rock stars, but they’re designed to be roadies.”  Except for me.  I am the rock star writer of the 21st century.  Hmm, the balding rock star writer of the 21st century.

Karina Cooper, well, she and I found a dirigible built for two, and we rocketed around the convention center, killing demons with ether pistols, and she drove and worked the gun, and I kept her and the furnace loaded, and we both killed tons of demons until we ran out of coal and crashed.  And when we walked from the wreckage, we pulled off our smoke-blackened goggles, sang heroic Abney Park songs until the hotel staff shushed us.  It was epic.  Epically steampunk!

And do you know who brought us tea after the crash and shushing?  Suzanne Lazear.  It was Earl Grey.  Hot.

You’d think my conversation with Lori Perkins, High Priestess of Ravenous Romance, would be fraught with demons.   Sexy demons who sparkle.  Nope.  Our conversation was spicy, but very real, and demons don’t like reality.  They prefer illusion and deception, and our conversation was anything but that.  She’s another warrior of the industry who understands a thing or two about life and love.

I got possessed by a demon.  I stole Hildie McQueen’s awesome green clickable sharpie.  I owe her one.  I am going to buy a box of them.  But keep the green one.  Because I got possessed by a demon.  Hildie had the brightest smile and best laugh at RT.

Hildie McQueen

Heather Savage, who is the editor-in-chief at Staccato Press, came up to me and told me she was a rogue demon hunter.  I asked her, “What’s a rogue demon?”  She slapped me.  Then returned to slaying demons.  Which is prolly a lot like editing.

Heather Savage and Two Rogue Demons



Jordan K. Rose

Jordan K. Rose tolerated my demoness, which I’m grateful for.  I needed kindness and Jordan was kind.




For the most part, it’s too cold in Canada for demons, but Joanne Brothwell proves that all Canadians have a little evil in them.  She fought to sign books, and she sold books, and she wooed everyone and she walked around RT red hot.  She has a nice smile as well, but if you look closely, you’ll see a little demon when she smiles.

Joanne, A Fairy Demon, A Blonde Demon

I talked with Kayla Perrin, Naomi James, and Mimi Tremont and we talked about how the demons of history can haunt us.  I had a lovely conversation with them all and I’m a better man for it.  If you haven’t gotten out of your zip code in a while, it’s time to go across town and shop at a different store for a change.  Demons look for people who hide in their homes.  Demons love the stagnant and close-minded.

Clay and Susan Griffith, who write steampunk vampire books, talked to me and encouraged me.  I needed it.  I go despairing sometimes.

For a long time, people thought women were demons.  I know, weird, huh?  They even burned some.  I talked with Delilah Marvelle and Maure Clairmont about the 19th century, sexual oppression, dark gothic romance, and lesbian prostitution in post-apocalyptic America.  We agreed.  People can get a little kooky about sex.

For a long time I thought all book bloggers were possessed by the Devil.  I mean, reviewing books and crucifying writers?  Sounds like demon work to me.  But talking with Jackie Morgan and Rayna Scherer, I realized book bloggers love books.  Simple as that.  Can’t be too evil if you love books.  I mean, you can, but it takes work.

Two Women.  Cropped.  I feel snark coming on.

Cecily White and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love her.  She hates me.  The demon who made me steal Hildie McQueen’s pen makes me tell that joke over and over and over at the conference.  Cecily just smiled, snarked it up, which made me love her even more.  Which made her hate me even more.  It’s a good setup.  I think I took a picture with her and Noelle Pierce, but I’m not 100% sure.


Jenna Barton sold a book at the conference.  Which proves that even though there were some demons at RT, there were also the angels of God blessing us all.  Especially erotica writers because God loves sex.  Why do you think He/She/It/They give it to us in the first place?

Jenna? Yes. Sold!

So yes, lots of demons, angels, drama, tears and laughter.  RT was the most satisfying writers conference I have ever been to as a published author and I will keep going back there until I die.  And then I want my ashes scattered there.  I know I missed a ton of people I talked to, and I feel bad for that, so if you feel slighted, next year in Kansas City, you get a free punch.

Thanks for the camaraderie, friendship, support, and love.  Hugs, cuddles, and kisses to you all.

Or was that too girly?  Okay, gotta butch it up.  Beer, football, and grunting to all, and to all a good night.



My Completely UNAUTHORIZED Interview With Charlaine Harris

To steal from Wikipedia: Charlaine Harris is a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing mysteries for over twenty years.

She is big time.

If you don’t know who Charlaine Harris is, either you’ve been in prison, in the hole, for years on end ala Papillion, or you only watch PBS documentaries on badgers. Not even the honey badger, just badgers.


Charlaine Harris penned the Sookie Stackhouse series of wonderful, southern vampire books that HBO turned into the True Blood series. But even before Sookie hit like a tsunami, Charlaine was writing books and books and books.

I talked with her at the 2012 Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention and she was wonderful and kind and supportive. This was the question:

Aaron: Charlaine, how do I as a writer handle the emotional storms of writing? How can I handle the ups and downs?

And her answer changed my life. It took a little while to sink in, but when it sunk in, it hardened into concrete. Quick-dry cemented, right down into the cracks and crevices of my soul. Charlaine said you have to believe in your story and your characters and you have to share that with the world.

It is my job to write my story and to share it. Not sell books, not get a huge publisher and make millions, though that certainly would be nice, but that’s not what this game is about. My job is to write a quality story with memorable characters and share it with the world.

I know what you are thinking. Duh. But it’s not just duh, nope. When the fear hits, when the rejections all dump on us like acid rain, if I can remember my primary purpose, I can weather those storms.

Because this adventure is not about me. It’s not about Aaron Ritchey. It’s about my story and my voice and my characters. I’m not here to sell me. Selling me is frightening because, dude, I am damaged goods. I’m the 1978 Dodge Dart rusted out.

But my story, my characters, Lena Marquez, the heroine of The Never Prayer, she’s tough, she’s fragile, she’s forced into impossible situations, and yet she emerges strong and healed and good. I’m here to share her story with as many people as I can. Not everyone will be interested, and that’s fine. But those that do connect with her, they will emerge from my book, hopefully a little more strong, a little more healed, a little better.

Thank you so much, Charlaine, for talking with me. And here is a link to her Amazon page. She is a woman with a generous heart.

How To Interview Famous People While Avoiding Restraining Orders

One of the best parts of my life is that I get to talk to writers. Now, writers are insane. No, really, crazy as a box full of bats. But they are also wonderful, full of life, sparkly people like Edward from Twilight though they don’t drink blood. Well, some do, but anyway, I love talking to writers, the unpublished, the published, the hyperpublished.


Now, hyperpublished people are doing interviews with Charlie frakkin’ Rose and yet I really wanna interview them. But I’d have to fight through their publicist who would take one look at me and giggle. Tee-hee.

But, I had an idea. When I meet a hyperpublished author, why not ask them a question and chat with them and then get their permission to publish our conversation on my website in a very respectful way? So that is my plan. And so far, everyone has agreed to my idea. Because I’m harmless. And because I love talking to writers.

Now, I am going to paraphrase what they say, so when you are reading my fake interviews, they are filtered through my own perceptions. I am not quoting anyone directly. So take that with a grain of salt.

And for the love of God, don’t go to them and say, “You said this on Aaron Ritchey’s website!” They won’t remember talking to me. And I’ll get sued. And I’ll wind up in jail and I’ll have to write my next book with my own blood on toilet paper.


So, that is the intro to my blog series. On Wednesdays, you’ll see THE COMPLETELY UNAUTHORIZED INTERVIEWS OF AARON MICHAEL RITCHEY. But tomorrow, Thursday, I’ll kick this off. Tomorrow, you’ll hear my conversation with Charlaine Harris.

Yeah, that Charlaine Harris. Uh oh. And oh boy, is she cool.