Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Celebrate-Romance

Dear Author

Why I Love Celebrate Romance

I’ve been a romance reader since I was in high school, but during my school years, I read alone. I didn’t know anyone else who read romance – a few of my friends might pick up a Nora Roberts book a couple of times a year, but that was all. That all changed in the early 1990′s, when I discovered the fledgling internet, and found reading groups filled with romance readers. How exciting! But I was hoping to meet some of these readers in person – to see the people I’d only talked to online, and talk to people face to face, instead of just by email.

I attended my first romance event when I graduated and moved to New York. The other readers online told me about a huge booksigning in New Jersey. (The annual NJRWA book signing.) I got on the Garden State Parkway and headed for New Jersey. When I walked into the hotel, I couldn’t believe it – there were crowds of people, and all of them were fellow romance readers! There was a huge ballroom with rows of tables, all lined with romance authors.

I timidly approached some of my favorite authors, and had my books signed. That was fun, but I found myself more interested in the other readers – when did they start reading romance? What were their favorite books? Did they have any good recommendations? A group of readers and authors went out to dinner after the signing, and for me, that was the highlight of the day, because I got a chance to talk to everyone. Whether we were talking about books or about our lives, it seemed like we had a lot in common – after all, we all loved reading! Dinner was over far too soon.

Not long after that, I heard about Celebrate Romance, which had held it’s first meeting in Las Vegas the previous year. It was an entire weekend of the things I’d liked best about the dinner after the book signing – a chance to talk to other readers, discuss books, and meet authors. And as a bonus for me, the next meeting was in Philadelphia, only a few hours from home. I couldn’t wait to attend.

The experience was even better than I’d expected. The first day I arrived, I stayed up until midnight, eating Philly cheesesteaks and swapping stories with other romance readers. The next day, I listened to speakers talking about my favorite subject – romance novels – and joined in enthusiastic group discussions about favorite plotlines and tacky covers. And on Sunday, I even got to have breakfast with one of my favorite romance authors – Mary Jo Putney – although I think I was too shy to say much. I exchanged email addresses with dozens of readers and authors, and had so many great chats with people that I’d met online, but finally met in person. By the end of the weekend, I was ready to sign up for next year.

Since then, I’ve attended CR almost every year, and it’s always been a terrific experience. A few years ago, I even got involved in organizing the conference. I had gotten so much out of CR, I had to do everything I could to help keep it going. It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since I attended my first one – and I still have a great time, every year.

This year’s Celebrate Romance conference is being held in Portland, Oregon, from Friday February 27th to Sunday March 1st. The keynote speakers are Cathy Maxwell and Jane Porter, and other attending authors include Elizabeth Boyle and Lisa Hendrix (and too many others to list). There are going to be speakers, discussion groups, dinners, and lots of chances to just kick back and relax. I can’t wait! Even though I’m busy with all kinds of behind the scenes details, in my heart I’m still that eager reader, waiting to get a chance to share my love of books with everyone else at the conference.

You can find out more at the CR web site, http://www.crspring.com

Dear Author

18 Really Awesome Things About the Romance Community

Humorous Pictures
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I’ve been fatigued by the scandals and the bad behavior and the general discontent that’s going on these days. It seems like you can’t turn around without tripping over someone inserting their foot into their mouth and then some. The problem with that is there are actually some wonderful things going on this year in romance and the online romance community. I thought of a few, in no particular order:

  • Authortalk interviews. These are some of the best promotional videos I have seen since the start of the book trailer. The book birthing scene in the Kresley Cole interview was hilarious as was the scene in the Rachel Vincent one where Gina Showalter disgustingly draws on cat whiskers in eyeliner pencil on Vincent’s face. I even noticed that I started saying Savor Me SLOOOOWWLLLLYY whenever I see the title of Gina’s latest book.
  • The serial novel as started on author Dionne Galace’s blog, made popular by Bettie Sharpe’s retelling of Cinderella in Ember and satirized in Tumperkin’s fabulous The Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaires’ Blackmailed Martyr-Complex Secretary Mistress Bride.
  • Cover snark by Smart Bitches and Dionne Galace, helping us take the genre less seriously.
  • Blogger crusades to promote things like Lisa Kleypas’ book, Dreaming of You, and then Lisa Kleypas making memories with said blogger crusader, Kristie J (one of my all time favorite RWA moments).
  • Having a legitimate reason to talk about sex toys.
  • Getting to post about dildoes just for the fun of posting about dildoes (in other words, getting to post about dildoes for no legitimate reason).
  • Brenda Novak’s Diabetes Auction. It starts May 1st and runs until May 31st.
  • All About Romance’s Aid fundraisers.
  • Seeing books of authors that you love make the bestseller list like Patricia Briggs‘ No. 1 placement or new author, Ilona Andrews, with her No. 32 placement.
  • Seeing great new authors in your favorite genre (historical for me): Sherry Thomas and Joanna Bourne.
  • Having a place to talk about my favorite hobby with really, really smart women.
  • Finding a new love in an unlikely place: Lara Adrian (had a tepid reaction to Kiss of Midnight but fell in love with her writing with Midnight Awakening); Maya Banks (hated For Her Pleasure but went on a buying spree after Into the Mist and Sweet Surrender).
  • Making new friends with whom I spend way too many late Wednesday nights talking about romance books and the romance industry after Top Chef and Project Runway. (What will be our starting show after Top Chef is over. And OMG what are we to do with the Lifetime coopting Project Runway. Who will be the advertisers now? Pampers? Make the best couture gown you can out of the wadded cotton?).
  • The awesomesauce that is SB Sarah who was the greatest partner possible in the DA BWAHA tournament.
  • Ebooks. Yep, I went there. I love ebooks and I always will, both from small print epublishers like Samhain to the big publishers like Harlequin who is really technologically forward.
  • Making dirty movies with Legos. (Thanks for being a good sport, Claudia Dain).
  • Resources like Historical Romance, and the Romance Wiki and Teach Me Tonight.
  • All the authors, publishers, publicists, editors, agents, reviewers, industry folks, bloggers, and most importantly, readers, who have come together for community.

Are there others? You bet, but this is what I thought of. How about you?