by Stephen Jay Schwartz

I’m reporting from the Romantic Times Convention in downtown Los Angeles. So, why am I wielding a Colt M4 tactical assault weapon? Could it be because men here are out-numbered 300 to 1 by their female counterparts?

It’s tough in the trenches – Brett, Rob and I have had to team up and take positions against an advancing army of faeries, vampires, zombies and Harlequins. We sleep in shifts and keep only what we can hump in the night. Umm…that’s the military definition of “hump,” ie, “to carry.”

Okay…maybe I should stop before I get into trouble.

The Romantic Times Convention is more exciting and diverse than I ever imagined. The photo above was taken at the ATF Workshop and Demo where conventioneers were introduced to numerous weapons of minor destruction (Remington 870 police shotguns, .357 Colt Pythons, Sig Sauers, a .22 caliber “pen” gun, an HK53 Malaysian military machine gun, an AK47 African Streetsweeper that shoots shotgun shells, and an M79 grenade launcher).

However, the deadliest weapon we encountered was the One-Shot Pekingese, pictured below:



The ATF demonstration also featured a German Shephard-attack on our moderator, Author Andrew Peterson, as well as lectures by a host of awesome ATF agents and SACs.

I’m just going to burn right through some of this, because the bar downstairs is filled with hundreds of corsetted authors and it just ain’t right to be sitting in my room while the party rages on…

I’ve been hanging with Alexandra, Allison, Sophie Littlefield, Joshua Corin (my roomie), Brett, Rob, Heather Graham, F. Paul Wilson, Andrew Peterson, Barry Eisler, Boyd Morrison, April Smith, Dianne Emley, Lori Armstrong, and so many more.

Today (Friday) I’m on three panels: Hollywood: Scriptwriting from TV & Film Insiders, with Sheryl J. Anderson, Robert Gregory Browne, Adena Halpern, and Gregg Hurwitz at 10:00 am; Hollywood Film to Page with Alexandra Sokoloff at 11:15; and Striking the Balance for Thrillers with Allison Brennan, Jan Burke, D.P. Lyle and Alexandra Sokoloff. Great friends, great authors!

Listen, I could go on and on about how great this conference is. But I really got to get down to that bar.

I’ll leave you with an image from tonight’s faery contest. Yes, faery contest. Don’t look for me on stage – my wings didn’t survive the trip.


That’s Dennis Pozzessere photographing two of our fine faeries!


  1. Alafair

    Great pictures. I had hoped to make it there this year but the semester is too packed right now. Have fun!

  2. Reine

    Stephen, this is absolutely hysterical! Cannot stop laughing and looking at the pics! Thank you so much for a great laugh. I really needed this!

  3. Chuck

    Thanks SJS, for the sneak peek! And, if I must say, that might be the most unique assemblage of pics I've seen here in a Murderati blog posting.

  4. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Stephen

    Sounds like a blast.

    Just one thing, though, if you're going to shoulder an M4 like that, get your damn finger off the trigger ;-]

  5. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Ugh….sleeeeeep…where do all the hours go….

    Thanks for chiming in, everyone!

    And, Zoe, by the time the picture was taken I'd already emptied the clip. I'm amazed by how fast that little Pekingese can run!

  6. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Dudley – them's fightin' words. Don't forget, I'm the one with the gun.

  7. Dudley Forster

    At least I was picturing pixies in Kim Harrison's books. After your report and finding out Gail Carriger
    was doing panels on Steampunk I am green with envy. BTW a 300 to 1 ratio sounds good to me.

  8. inkgrrl

    What Zoe Said!

    Yup, that's an RT con. I have the Creeping Crud that Will Not Die or I'd be stalking y'all from behind somebody else's wings – looks like a super fun time, and I'm so glad you're taking full advantage… um, I mean, enjoying it!

  9. Gayle Carline

    Geez, that looks like so much more fun than I'm having…

    Coupla things: 1) whoever told you that was a Pekingese is pulling your leg. Looks more like a Chihuahua, with maybe some Pomeranian tossed in. Remind me to tell you how dangerous those things are when they jump from the back of the couch and sink their little teeth into whatever's grab-able. 2) Say hi to Andy Petersen for me. We met at a writer's conference when First to Kill had just come out. He's a lot of fun, mostly because he's pretty gullible and it's fun to make up stuff just to see if he'll believe you. Not that I ever did that.

  10. David Corbett

    You are no doubt off to the frequently mentioned and lovingly invoked bar as I write this. I am, as you might guess, jealous. Here I sit, preparing my own post for Wednesday. Who knew the Romantic Times lollapalooza could be so outrageous (yes, I know that remark says far more about me than it does the event or the fond faeries in attendance)? Do, though, try to remain sober enough to . . .

    Oh who am I trying to kid? Get blotto like Bluto and blame it on me.

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