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Romantic Timesī 18th Annual Booklovers Convention

Hello, and welcome back! I hope you all got lots of reading done while I was away. I managed to read a book on my way to Orlando last week, but didnīt get in any other reading time once I arrived at the convention.

While the weather wasnīt as perfect as some had hoped, it didnīt matter, because much of the week, we were inside the hotel, moving from one great workshop to another, mingling with authors, cover models, Mr. Romance contestants and readers by the hundreds. I personally had been working for much of the year with another woman to coordinate workshops for the Advanced Aspiring Authors track, so I can honestly say that for the first two days, I didnīt see much else during the day--evenings were another story. But in our workshops, we had a great group of women, and our speakers--who included Silhouette author Susan Meier; Bobbi Smith; the ever-hilarious Sandra Hill; and Dee Davis--were terrific. If you think this convention is just for readers, think again. I went last year for the first time and was really amazed at the well-planned workshops for the writers.

From the night we arrived, there were parties going on, starting with Bobbi Smithīs champagne reception on Tuesday, to Heather Grahamīs Vampire Ball on Saturday. Even Sunday night, for those who could spend one more night away from home (I had to leave for home Sunday morning), there was a pajama party that I heard went on into the wee hours. Whether you go in costume or not, these parties are a really good oppportunity to chat with other romance readers or to meet your favorite author. I had the chance to meet new author Lauren Bach early in the week, got to meet in person--finally, after months of email chatting--Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Tammie Gibbs, spoke to Heather Graham at our outing to Arabina Nights mid-week, and had lunch with Heidi Betts. Itīs a great chance for readers to mingle with their favorite authors, as I said before. Heck, I went to RT last year and still got to meet more authors this year.

And I still havenīt mentioned the book fair. Lots and lots of authors sitting in one room, their books stacked in front of them, just waiting for readers to visit them. I took that opportunity to meet Robin Schone, one of the queens of erotic romance. People bring books from home, too, to be signed.

I think Iīve failed to tell you that Jude Devereaux was also at the convention this year, which was a real treat since she rarely attends conferences. We got to meet her in person, and her son Sam is adorable. And then there is the Lady of Barrow herself, Kathryn Falk. I swear, the woman is the Energizer bunny! Sheīs everywhere and never stops to rest.

Since Iīm running out of space, Iīll just reiterate that this is one convention you shouldnīt miss. Next yearīs is scheduled for October 22-28 in Reno, NV, and Iīm planning to be there. I canīt wait to see whatīs planned for that one!

Until next week, happy reading!

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