Hello, and welcome back! I hope youīve all had the opportunity to read some wonderful romances this last week. Iīve just returned from Texas, a bit tired, a bit poorer, but also motivated and energized from the contacts and new friends Iīve made. Kathryn Falk, Lady Barrow, and her conference coordinator, Marilynn Campbell throw one heck of a party. For readers and writers alike, this is one conference you should make some attempt to get to, at least once in your life.
The first day and a half--Wednesday and Thursday--of the convention were mostly devoted to writing workshops, this year divided between Shy and Advanced Beginners. The women hosting these workshops were a joy, and shared a lot of valuable information with the attendees on the craft and business of writing. The Advanced class also had several visitors from within the industry who spoke on different aspects of the business.
The bulk of the workshops began, though, on Friday morning, with eleven different tracks each hour. For some of us, it was very difficult to make a choice among the offerings. There were classes on paranormals, discussions for readers, electronic publishing, category romance and so much more. And speakers from all walks and levels of the romance industry. There was an amazing amount of talent and energy in the Radisson Astrodome last week, an awe-inspiring amount.
And letīs not forget the parties. Beginning with the cover model reunion on Wednesday night and ending with the pajama party Sunday night, the convention was a great social event as well as the learning event of the year. Some of the parties also benefitted charities. Heather Grahamīs Vampire Ball on Saturday night had proceeds going to sponsorKIDS, a worldwide pediatric AIDS organization. During the weekdend, Helen and James Rosburg hosted the Sweet Charity Casino with all funds going to Horses for Kids at Risk, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center/Pediatric Cancer Research Fund and Locks of Love--which also had another donor: cover model Ryan Storm raffled off the chance to cut his long locks for the charity.
The most important part, at least for most of us, was the chance to meet others who understand our passion for romances. Where else can you mingle with so many readers, writers and industry experts all in one place? Nowhere that I know. Yes, there were cover models there, but they arenīt just brainless hunks. Mostly, they were as interested in the industry as the rest of us. I have to say that I made several great contacts and new friends I hope to stay in contact with, both published and unpublished. It was a week to indulge one of our favorite passions, and to benefit not only ourselves but others in need. All in all, a most satisfying five days. I hope that those of you who didnīt make it this year will try to make it next. I highly recommend the experience.
Till next week, happy reading.