Friday, October 7, 2011

Another post by Sheila - Conference

Good morning fans!

Welcome to Michael's! Today, Sheila G has returned from Romanticon and did a post for us to give us a recap of her experience.

Since we have this and the Johnny Miles Spotlight, I'll postpone the free read till next week. Lets here what Sheila has to say!


I spent last weekend in Akron, Ohio at the Ellora’s Cave Romanticon.  I had a blast.  This was my third Romanticon so I’m getting to be a veteran of them.  I’m a reader and book conferences are one of the highlights of my year.  I really look forward to Romanticon, right after the Celtic Thunder concert and Pittsburgh‘s Irish Fest weekend.

I started going to conferences when Romantic Times Book Lovers Conference came to Pittsburgh in 2008.  My friend wanted to go and I had no problem because I could stay at my home and attend the conference.  Well, RT was overwhelming.  It was big (over 1200 people that year because it was the 25th Anniversary of RT).  Lots of activities went on and it always seemed as though everything I wanted to do occurred at the same time.  There was no down time.  If I did one thing, I missed something else.  I loved every minute of it.  I’m not sure my friend, who really wanted to go, had as good a time as I did.

After RT I got involved in Yahoo groups and author loops.  I immersed myself even more in books.  I also started reviewing within a year of RT.  My life turned in a way I never anticipated or thought about but it has been fun since then.  I have found my niche, so to speak.

In 2009 Ellora’s Cave began Romanticon.  I’ve attended each one they’ve had and look forward to next year’s festivities.  I’m also jealous of you who are going to the first GayRomLit.  You have a unique opportunity.  What I like about Romanticon is that it is small, just like GayRomLit will be.  This gives readers and authors a chance to talk, visit, and get to know one another.  Yes, someone will probably stalk an author they love but it’s done, usually, out of love, not homicidal obsession.   Gossip will be rampant but that is what makes it fun.  Most of the gossip is not true, so take it with a grain of salt, unless you actually witness the gossip on the grapevine.

You’ll party at GayRomLit.  Some advice, it gets expensive sitting in the hotel bar paying for drinks so get a bottle from the liquor store and sit in your rooms and have an open door policy.  Bring some snacks and mixers, relax, invite people over and visit.  It will be loud and raucous but so fun because you get to know others who are established writers, aspiring authors, beta readers, reviewers, publishers, and readers who buy your books. 

I don’t aspire to write.  I have no creative storytelling in my bones.  I attend author workshops though.  It’s interesting to learn how authors craft their stories.  Last year at Romanticon one of the authors was a forensic scientist and explained how the time line works for a murder investigation.  It was fascinating.  She told how you cannot solve a murder in two weeks in a book when the earliest you might get some toxicology reports back is six weeks at the earliest but more likely you’ll get them back six months later.   This year I attended a workshop on BDSM.  As one author flogged another (clothes on) she talked about how the body reacts when being flogged and it’s nothing like they show in porn movies.  The flogger will tire out before the sub will turn that bright shade of red that adorns most BDSM covers.  I also came away with a better idea of what steampunk is because of another workshop.

While the parties are fun and the workshops informative, for me a conference is all about the books.  It is the book signing on the last day of the conference that I most look forward to (Okay, I get really, really excited over it!  I‘m a book junkie.  There, I‘ve admitted it.  Well, at least it‘s not fattening, illegal, or immoral.  Besides we all need a vice, oh, uh, I mean hobby.)  This is the time that authors and readers have the chance to meet one-on-one as the reader chooses a book to buy and has the author sign it.  It is the time for authors to discover what readers think of their writing and books.  I am disappointed when authors leave before I can meet them, talk with them, and choose one of their books for my collection.  So if you are an author, stay until the end of the signing.  If you are having a contest, pull the name at the end of the signing. 

My goal is to buy a book from each author because there are a few I have read but many more that are new to me and I have never read their work.  I love the variety of books available (especially since brick and mortar stores are becoming extinct and those that are around often do not carry books available at conferences.)  I love discovering new authors.  I love discovering new genres.  I love everything about the book signing.  And believe me when I say I buy at least one book from every author.  I came home from Romanticon with 3 bags of prints and about an inch of index cards with codes for books to download from the Ellora’s Cave website.  Total book whore!

Enjoy yourselves at your first GayRomLit.  I plan on being there next year.

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