Tag Archives: Ellora’s Cave

Ellora’s Cave RomantiCon 2013

Barbara Vey -- October 21st, 2013
joysann

joysann

We interrupt my UK adventures with a special report from joysann.  I’ll return tomorrow with more author video interviews and visiting Scotland.  The Mills & Boon giveaway is still going on, so leave a comment for a chance to win.

Hi! joysann here. There have been 5 RomantiCons put on by Ellora’s Cave, and I’ve been to all of them. And after each I’ve said “this is the best romance conference ever”. I still think so. It just keeps getting better and better.

Ellora’s Cave Publishing in Akron, OH, celebrates both its Authors and Readers in this exciting weekend event. This year attendance approached the 300 mark, and well over half were the enthusiastic and dedicated Readers of erotic romance. With the rapidly growing awareness of erotic romance literature available, more and more women are exploring what is out there, and Ellora’s Cave is just the place to go for their reading pleasures.

Author Tara Nina working registration

Author Tara Nina working registration

EC goes all out with providing a memorable experience for everyone. Starting with the accommodations, the entire McKinley Grand Hotel in Canton, OH, is reserved for the event, Friday through Sunday. Everyone there is in some way related to the event, making an open and casual atmosphere for adult socializing and conversations, with no need for concern for little pitchers with big ears.

Authors Cris Anson and Kaenar Langford sharing secrets at the Meet 'n' Greet

Authors Cris Anson and Kaenar Langford sharing secrets at the Meet ‘n’ Greet

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Attendees began arriving early in the week, so by Thursday there was a substantial group ready and waiting for the festivities to start. To satisfy this, EC hosted a Meet ’n’ Greet to facilitate the joys and excitement of long-time friends reuniting, making new friends of authors and readers, and introducing the ever-popular Cavemen.

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Zumba with Caveman Nick

Zumba with Caveman Nick

Friday and Saturday mornings started off getting physical with healthy and exuberant exercise for those ambitious enough to join Caveman Nick Soto in a 50 minute Zumba class. This was followed by demonstrations by women of Cleveland Exotic Dance, one of belly dancing and one of yoga. Both exercise and dance classes were well attended, and both were seriously presented, but still a lot of fun.

 

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dalton diaz and samantha kane

Author Samantha Kane is acting carny while cheering author Dalton Diaz at bean bag toss.

Afternoons brought on the workshops and instructional panels. Okay, not so much! How about Games & SEXtras™? What we had available were games and parties and discussions, all hosted by EC authors. A little racy, a lot sexy, and lots and lots of prizes and giveaways. There were bingo, and charades, and even a little carnival, and all was fun and laughter inducing. A great job was done by all the presenters.

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Authors Regina Cole & Sydney Bristol with blogger Vanessa thejeepdiva blogger ready for Bollywood

Authors Regina Cole & Sydney Bristol with blogger Vanessa thejeepdiva blogger ready for Bollywood

No one does extravagant parties like Ellora’s Cave! Everyone knows that the evening is going to be special and exciting. Friday night’s theme was Bollywood, and most everyone was decked out in saris and bangles and colorful, glittery fashions. The room decoration was superb, and everyone left with her own exotic coin-jingling scarf-style belt.

Old Hollywood was Saturday night’s theme, and women and men both enjoyed dressing with the glamor of the silver screen. The evening gowns, the glittering jewelry, the stylish suits and hats all lent to the excitement of the Awards Banquet. It was truly a spectacular evening.

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Ellora's Cavemen with author Aline Hunter

Ellora’s Cavemen with author Aline Hunter

Neither of the evening celebrations can go by without an energetic performance by the Ellora’s Cavemen. Choreographed to match the party themes and the special interests of the audience, the performances by these talented and handsome young men charmed and thrilled. These cover models and dancers are the highlight of the weekend for many of the conference attendees. The women of Cleveland Exotic Dance performed as well, with theme appropriate displays of costume and dance.

Sunday, of course, was the big booksigning event, open to the public (18 yoa & over), with many of EC’s authors available to sign books and e-book cover flats for their fans. With Romantica® and Exotika® imprints for their erotic fiction, Ellora’s Cave calls the event the SEXporium™. Along with books, fans were purchasing merchandise like t-shirts, toys, jewelry and Cavemen Calendars, and it was a brisk business. The Cavemen repeated their performances from the party nights, and Cleveland Exotic Dance performed belly dancing, pole dancing, and a little burlesque.

I wasn’t able to stick around, but a lot of attendees don’t leave till Monday mornings, so the exciting Bingo & Pizza Party has become a staple to the weekend’s entertainment. I know those able to stay shared lot of laughter and fun.

Again, EC’s RomantiCon is one of the best romance writer events I get to attend. This isn’t an accident. The remarkable, dedicated and talented staff of EC knock themselves out to make the event a memorable experience for their beloved authors and readers. I love it.

Joysann’s Interview on CBS Sunday Morning – Afterword

Barbara Vey -- March 25th, 2013
joysann

joysann

As I, joysann, blogged on Friday, yesterday CBS Sunday Morning had a great little story on Ellora’s Cave Publishing, and did absolutely wonderfully with the interview with author Desiree Holt. With only a quick shot behind the scenes, a brief exchange with EC CEO Patty Marks, and very brief glances at the gorgeous cover models (waaay not enough!), it was still a fun few minutes.

This particular CBS Sunday Morning show was about unusual businesses and their successes, intended to be a brief lighthearted look. It was not supposed to be an in-depth story about the publishing industry, or the moral implications of erotica, or the value of women’s fiction in all its genres. And Bill Geist made it a fun story for a little informative entertainment. I think any positive exposure to romance fiction is good for the industry.

This has been an interesting two weeks of anxious anticipation waiting for this segment to broadcast. I’m delighted with the segment, for Ellora’s Cave and for Desiree. And though my little interview wasn’t used, I am glad I got to be part of it, even behind the scenes… equal parts disappointed that I didn’t appear in the segment and grateful that I didn’t have a chance to make a fool of myself. I imagine I’ll have an opportunity for that another time.

 Bottom Line:  It still was an experience to remember.

Joysann’s Interview on CBS Sunday Morning

Barbara Vey -- March 21st, 2013
CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning

joysann

joysann

 

This coming Sunday, March 24, the CBS Sunday Morning news show will be doing a segment on Ellora’s Cave Publishing and I, joysann was there to witness it.  Last week CBS Correspondent Bill Geist and his crew flew into Akron, Ohio, to tour the EC offices and warehouse, and interview CEO Patty Marks about the unusual and successful business of publishing erotica and their trademarked Romantica®.

Bill Geist interviewing Author Desiree Holt

Bill Geist interviewing Author Desiree Holt

 

Along with Patty, they also did an interview with one of EC’s most popular authors, Desiree Holt, who has written and published over 130 books. Another interesting fact about Desiree? Along with producing exciting, sizzling romance fiction, she is a 76 year old widowed grandmother. For some reason some people find that incongruous. I just find her brilliant.

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Bookcover Photo Shoot

Bookcover Photo Shoot

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So this is the story CBS Sunday Morning will be broadcasting. For my part, well, I was invited by EC to be one of three reader/fans to be interviewed for the segment, and I am enthusiastically both of those things. I was delighted!

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Bookcover Photo Shoot

Bookcover Photo Shoot (Photo Courtesy of Ellora’s Cave)

 

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I dragged my friend Joan Short, another reader/fan, into the EC offices, and while waiting for our turns to be interviewed, we were invited to watch a bookcover photo shoot, put together to film how it’s done. That was interesting, too. With the need for romantic looking covers for the books, the subjects are gorgeous. There were two lovely young women, and, of course, some of the famous Ellora’s Cavemen. Yep, it was fascinating.

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Bill Geist and the Cover Models

Bill Geist and the Cover Models

I’m looking forward to seeing the story on Sunday Morning, seeing the interview with my friend Desiree, and of course, seeing how the news crew saw the photo shoot.

CBS Sunday Morning March 24 at 9:00 a.m. EDT

 

joysann & Ellora''s Cavemen

joysann & Ellora’s Cavemen (Photo Courtesy of Ellora’s Cave)

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Bottom Line: For myself, I can only barely remember what gracious Bill Geist asked me, and goodness knows how I answered, but there it is.

RT Finally

Barbara Vey -- April 11th, 2011
Now this is the way I like to start a conference, hugged by Jason Isaacs. Oh, yeah, Sheila English wiggled her way in the picture.

Now this is the way I like to start a conference, hugged by Jason Isaacs. Oh, yeah, Sheila English wiggled her way in the picture.

Finally back on line.  I goofed on my flight home, so I’m now at a Days Inn next to LAX.  Good news is free wi-fi so I can finally post a blog.  Let me try to catch you up on what’s been going on since I arrived at the RT Booklovers Convention in Los Angeles.

Wednesday was the official start and people and their luggage filled with costumes started arriving.  Newbies are offered the RT Virgin session that explains the way things work.  There are three different tracks you can follow, reader, writer and bookseller/librarian.  Workshops and panels are offered for all three and then there are the social events sponsored by authors and publishers.  Veteran RTers and authors Jade Lee and Anne Elizabeth had a full house for RT Advantage, or as some people like to call it:  The Jade and Anne Elizabeth show!  As usual, Anne Elizabeth gave good advice on how to best negotiate the wild and wacky world of RT while Jade provided the comic relief and handed out cool stuff!

Megan Frampton & Liz Edelstein

Megan Frampton & Liz Edelstein

I started the day with breakfast with Liz Edelstein and Megan Frampton of Macmillian Publishing.  They offered a t-shirt and bookbag in the official book bag of goodies.  Then they wandered around the conference and anyone they spied wearing the shirt or carrying the bag got a special gift of a water bottle, books and other goodies to promote their new reader friendly online group Heroes and Heartbreakers.

While we we chatting, Megan noticed Joanna Bourne and since I’m still talking about how much I enjoyed The Spymaster’s Lady, I immediately went to her table and asked her to join us.  She admitted that she was pleasantly surprised by how well her book was received.  Another author meet I can check off my list.

Victoria Alexander & Kristen Painter

Victoria Alexander & Kristen Painter

I had to go to the goodie room to see all the amazing baskets put together by the authors.  They are free giveaways that you just need to fill out an entry form for.  Ok, I admit that I did put my name in for a few, but when they offer great books, chocolate and wine, they got me.

I tried to make it some of the sessions, but I’ve got to tell you that you can’t go two feet without walking into another author.  I stopped to chat with Cathy Maxwell, Sabrina Jeffries, Heather Graham, Victoria Alexander to name a few.  Then it was time to meet Vida Enstrand of Kensington Publishing in the Lounge.  We talked about authors, books and promotions coming up that I’ll be soon announcing on the blog.

Wilmer and me on the set

Wilmer and me on the set

But here’s a special event that I hadn’t planned for.  Sheila English was doing an interview with Howard Gordon (executive producer of “24” and “The X-Files) about his new book, Gideon’s War and needed a videographer.  I grabbed my trusty camera and microphone and we headed off about three blocks where we discovered they were shooting a pilot for a new NBC show.   Sheila did her interview and Howard graciously allowed me to do a Drive By Video with him also.  Then Howard invited us to watch the filming.  I’ve never been on a movie or tv set before, so I was total fan girl.  The main actors were Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and also appeared in The Patriot with Mel Gibson) and Wilmer Valderrama of That 70’s Show.  We got to put headsets on and listen to scene unfold.  It’s going to be a cop show that has twists like Inception and Sliding Doors.  I really hope it gets picked up because I’ll be an instant fan.  After the scene was over, Jason came over to meet us and agreed to a Drive By Video with me.  I was mesmerized by his piercing blue eyes and to die for accent.  He was extremely tolerant of my babbling and completely charming.  Someone has to use him as their inspiration in their next book.  Because of the time, I only got my picture taken with the delightful Wilmer, but he was delightful and I can see why he has such a fanatical following.

Linnea Sinclair (center) & cast of her movie

Linnea Sinclair (center) & cast of her movie

Intergalactic Bar and Grille was overflowing with wine, tiaras and hunks!  The cast of Linnea Sinclair’s movie Down Home Alien Blues was there and added to the hunkiness and the fun.  As usual it included hilarious trivia questions, antics by hostesses, and good participation by their victims…er, customers!  Hostesses included Linnea Sinclair, Jade Lee, Nathalie Gray, Karen Miller, Cricket Starr, Marcella Burnard and Janet Miller.  Oh, and there was a duck toss too!

Bloggers from Carina Dinner

Bloggers from Carina Dinner

Before I knew it, it was time to head off to the Carina Publishing dinner that they offer to bloggers.  Angela James and Malle led us to a wonderful steak place that smelled wonderful.  But the best part was having 10 of us together to fuss over our favorite books.  I got some great suggestions of books I missed and I promised the group I’d try.  As much as I read, I’m always amazed at how much I’m not reading.  So, as soon as I finish them I’ll be writing about them in the New to Me blog.

Bollywood, Ellora's Cave style

Bollywood, Ellora's Cave style

Ellora’s Cave held an amazing Bollywood Party.  They hired a dancing troupe to entertain the audience.  To keep the fun going everyone was offered dance lessons which kept the dance floor packed.  There were gifts and other goodies that had many proclaiming this the “best party ever!”

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, my troubles continued with inconsistent internet connections, no hot water for showers, stuck elevators and spotty cell phone connections.  The computer wouldn’t recognize my video camera, so I couldn’t download anything.  I have it with a tech person now trying to save my Drive By’s.  Keep your fingers crossed. I couldn’t even Tweet and that is unacceptable!

There’ll be more on the conference all week.

Bottom Line: My motto today is smile, smile, smile and the heck with the rest of it…do your worst.

RomantiCon 2010 – Ellora’s Cave

Barbara Vey -- October 15th, 2010
joysann

joysann

Cub Reporter joysann here “Celebrating 10 Years of Refusing to Behave.”

This 2nd RomantiCon near Akron, Ohio (Oct 8-10), was also a celebration of Ellora’s Cave’s 10th Anniversary, and drew about 175 authors, readers and other attendees from all over the U.S., Canada, and even Scotland and Australia. Everyone arrived there prepared to meet old friends, make new ones, get some writing tips and ideas, and to be entertained. And, from Thursday evening’s Meet & Greet for the early birds to the Bingo/Pizza Party on Sunday evening, entertaining it was!

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Cougarlicious Authors

During the day the various workshops focused on improving writing skills; world building and character development, tips for doing research or creating crime scenes, learning how covers are selected and designed, how titles are chosen, or how to build tension in a story, and other useful or creative elements a writer can use.

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Author Lena Matthews

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Everyone was excited about the Roaring 20’s Costume party on Friday evening, with dinner and dancing to DJ music that went on all evening. There was even a dance contest, which was won by author Lena Matthews and her fancy footwork.

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EC Owner Tina Engler/Jaid Black

Saturday night was the Awards Banquet, which was also the big 10th Anniversary Celebration for the founding of Ellora’s Cave, with a tribute to founder/owner Tina Engler/Jaid Black. EC staff produced an elaborate and exotic dance show themed from the first book published, an erotic sci-fi fantasy called The Empress’ New Clothes. The show featured the EC male cover models, aka Ellora’s Cavemen, and an interesting visual display it was.

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Ellora's Cavemen

(These guys were part of the show all weekend, graciously entertaining, charming, flirting, and dancing with 150 women, and did a fine job.)

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Awards were given to the 2010 Rising Stars, attending authors who had a first release in the last year. Then, in good-spirited creativity, other awards were selected by the editors for books with some feature that caught their eye, for example, the “Hottest CIA Werewolf Voodoo Priest Hero” or the “Worst Ever Evil Day Job”. All of it was appreciated with good humor and lots of laughter.

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V.J. Devereaux and Marilu Mann enthralled in The Empress' New Clothes

Sunday wrapped with the big, successful book signing open to the public, and wound down with exhausted lingerers gathered for some final visiting and laughter at the Bingo party. Through the whole 3 days, there were prizes and gifts galore, so everyone went home happy. Some of the impressive prizes EC gave away included Sony and Kindle e-readers, digital cameras, and netbooks. And I heard nearly everyone vowing to be at RomantiCon again next year.

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Bottom Line: Happy Anniversary Ellora’s Cave!

RWA: Librarian/Bookseller Day

Barbara Vey -- July 29th, 2010
Christie Ridgeway,   , Eloisa James

Christie Ridgeway, Kristin Ramsdell, Eloisa James

Wednesday was a day to celebrate librarians.  The workshops were geared to them, the goody room loaded with books and swag and authors were waiting in the wings to court them.  I hit the workshop given by Christie Ridgeway, Eloisa James and Kristin Ramsdell on trending books.  Focus on Young Adult Romance featured Melissa de la Cruz, Ally Carter, Simone Elkeles, Susan Gibbermand, Amy Alessio – Popular Young Adult authors and a librarian talked about how to bring Young Adult readers into the library, and how to entice them into choosing a book.  Best advice — don’t be pushy.  Offer selections, but let the kids have the final say.  At Tips and Tricks for Effective Romance Collection Development, author Tessa Dare and Wendy Crutcher, librarians both, gave excellent tips for maintaining and weeding a library collection during the financial stress libraries are suffering now.  The best suggestion is to make sure everything is cataloged so that you know it is there and it can be found when needed, saving the high costs of new purchase or Inter-Libarary Loans.

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Jeannie Lin and Kimberly Killion

Jeannie Lin and Kimberly Killion

Karen Rose and Jennifer Dillion of the Pennfield Middle School

Karen Rose and Jennifer Dillion of the Pennfield Middle School

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Sherrilyn Kenyon was the luncheon speaker and told of her days working in a library.  After lunching with the authors, the librarians and booksellers enjoyed the goody room where they gathered tons of books, bookmarks, candy and other offerings.   A meet and greet followed while the two groups mixed and talked to their love of books and gratitude for each other.  Everyone came out a winner.

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Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love and fan

Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love at Literacy signing with fan

The Literacy signing is always a high point of the conference with over 500 authors signing their book and all proceeds to charity.  Fans started lining up 3 hours early and the line went on forever.  It was a sight to behold when the doors opened and the lovers of all things romance came pouring in.  Many of the authors sold out of their books.  I heard one woman tell Beverly Barton how she read Beverly’s books to her dying father when he couldn’t read himself anymore and how much that meant to her.  Stories like this are plentiful and it helps bring home how important authors and their stories are in people’s lives.  While the signing officially ended at 7:30 p.m., Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love were the last to leave at 9 p.m. when their line finally came to an end and all their books were signed.  Congratulations on a very successful event for all.

Kate Poole, Marcia James, Nell Brice, Raelene Gorlinsky, Eileen Ann Brennan

Kate Poole, Marcia James, Nell Brice, Raelene Gorlinsky, Eileen Ann Brennan

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After a quick dinner, (well, not so quick as the restaurants were all packed) I headed over to the Ellora’s Cave Dessert Party.  Wonderfully decadent desserts were served and I got the coolest bag that goes across your body and has two sides that were stuffed with books.  Definitely a keeper.

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Next up was the Goddess Blog Party.  This group of authors not only write a fun blog, they also put on a terrific event.   Here’s even more pictures from RWA.

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Meg Cabot with YA fan, Nicola

Meg Cabot with YA fan, Nicola

From New Zealand, Sandra Hyatt, Tessa Radley, Abby Gaines

From New Zealand, Sandra Hyatt, Tessa Radley, Abby Gaines

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Bottom Line: Don’t come to these events expecting to leave with one or two books…more like one or two boxes of books.