The First Ever RomCon

Barbara Vey -- July 15th, 2010

RomCon is (according to their site) the premier romance readers’ convention, celebrates the romance genre and its wonderful readers. It’s a huge gathering of lovers of romantic fiction – and the only such convention that focuses solely on the romance reader! It was held in Denver last weekend and our own WW Lady, Stacey, attended and offers her take on the debut event.

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Stacey

Stacey

Hello, WW Lady Stacey (aka NYStacey) here.  I think the best part of a reader focused conference, like Romcon, are the little tidbits you get to learn about authors and their books. For example, take a look at these:
-Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan are working on a book together-Susan Donovan’s character finds a diary written by Celeste’s character…
-Both Julia Quinn and Nalini Singh know so much more about their ‘worlds’ than what goes on the page. It’s why Nalini loves writing novellas, and why Julia Quinn has spent the time to go through generations of Smythe-Smith trios in preparation for her next series…
-Cindy Gerard pointed out the potential for Tara Janzen’s mind numbing cliffhanger (the fact that the hero for her next book was alive when readers all thought he was dead…)
-When the hero of the Cindy Gerard book ‘Show No Mercy’ showed up, she knew he would be someone important. And she was right…(I think so too, because this is my favorite book of hers).
-Anna Campbell has a Golden Heart winning Historical Romantic comedy waiting to be published…which readers would like to see.
-Carrie Vaughn’s inspiration for the amazing ‘Discord’s Apple’ came from a bunch of disparate sources-from GI Joe comics to Vergil’s Aeneid.
-Courtney Milan is an absolute genius, and is responsible for t he amazing cover of the current excerpt book…’The Girl Who Loved Historical Romance.’
-Susan Mallery is signed for NINE more books in the amazing ‘Fool’s Gold’ series, and they’ll come out as three different trilogies.(I love the way Susan Mallery writes the small town romance…with snark and humor.)
-Christine Feehan received a commendation for writing ‘Hidden Currents.’ I’ve always known that romance novels have the power to deliver important messages, but the political science major in me is thrilled to see those special situations where I’m not the only one.

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Romantic Suspense Panel Mary Burton, Cindy Gerard, Lucy, Australian book seller, Susan Crandall, Tara Janzen, Pamela Claire

Romantic Suspense Panel Mary Burton, Cindy Gerard, Lucy, Australian book seller, Susan Crandall, Tara Janzen, Pamela Claire

But ROMCON wasn’t just these little tidbits. I went to a whole bunch of different panels-from publisher spotlights by Harlequin and Tor, intimate chats with three different authors (Anna Campbell, Julia Quinn and Nalini Singh), the early bird breakfast with Cindy Gerard and Tara Janzen, the Paranormal Authors Tea (where I unexpectedly won one of the amazing gift baskets), a blogging panel, a discussion on anti-heros, and a blogging party hosted by Melissa Mayhue. I even speed dated a bunch of authors !
What I loved about all of these panels was the format. Most of the workshops weren’t done in a traditional format, with a group of people sitting up at the front of the room behind a table. The interactive formats chosen(from scavenger hunts to fill in the blanks) fostered, if not forced(but in a good way) reader-author interaction. Even those workshops which operated on a traditional level encouraged group participation in amazing ways-Tor’s spotlight gave an ARC to any audience member who asked a question to the panel.

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In this way, as well as through the very relaxed atmosphere of the conference, I was able to catch up with old friends like authors Terri Brisbin, Leanne Banks (who has a brand new series starting with Silhouette Special Edition) and Delilah Marvelle (who’s new series for HQN sounds amazing!), and meet authors like Jo Beverly, Lila DiPasqua, Carolyn Crane, Jeanine Frost, Jessa Slade, Cat Adams, Meljean Brook (her steam punk romance ‘The Iron Duke’ is going to take the world by storm) and Pamela Clare (historical Romance series about the French and Indian war excites the history minor in me…).

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There was also a large blogger/reviewer presence at Romcon, which I loved. I got to meet, among many others, Joy from Joyfully Reviewed, Jessica from Read, React Review, Heather and Melanie (I hope you’re enjoying your brand new Kindle!) from Heather’s Books, Sasha-GrowlyCub, Melissa from San Remo Ave, and Jackie from Bitten by Books.

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And there were READERS at this conference. We traded book recommendations, favorite moments in our favorite series’, talked about why certain characters stood out for us and what books we were looking forward to. Even heard that based on some reader recommendation, Harlequin is looking at possibly bringing back the ‘Flipside’ line. I definitely want to thank the reader who, after the Anna Campbell chat, reminded me about the Kristin Cashore series. I’d been meaning to investigate it, but somehow it had gotten lost in my tbr pile. I hope you like the SFR I suggested.

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Yet when everything is said and done, the most important thing to remember is that this year marked the very FIRST Romcon. Kudos to Michelle, Elaine and the rest of the team, as well as Sue Grimshaw, for pulling it off. I cannot wait to see what happens next year, and I encourage anybody who might be interested in any way to attend. Thanks also go to my awesome roommates- blogger/reviewer extrordinaire Katiebabs and agent of all things amazing Louise Fury. Both of you helped make my
conference special.

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Bottom Line: Looks like I’ve got a new conference to add to my wishlist next year.

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