I’m being a v. bad conference attendee and am holed up in my room…more on that in a moment. But without further ado, here’s my brief recap of RomCon Day 1!
1) Teresa Medeiros is a great keynote speaker. She’s warm, friendly, seems genuine, and knows how to move an audience. I cried at the end of her speech, and while I don’t exactly have a heart made of stone, it’s not super easy to get me to cry in public – so congrats (?) on that. She opened the conference with some remarks on why she writes romance, which she read in adverse circumstances since she’d set her room service tray on her reading glasses the night before! Luckily the hotel had some reading glasses in lost and found that they let her steal, so she was able to talk. And she ended with the story of how her father stuck by her mother (and her, when she was a baby) when her mom was diagnosed as bipolar many years ago, and how even though she now has dementia he still sees her as the beautiful girl he married – now do you see why I started to cry?
2) Readers rock my world. I participated in speed dating this afternoon, which meant that readers came around to my table and we had 90 seconds to talk about books (theoretically my books, although I also asked what they were reading, what they liked, etc.). It’s pretty awesome to meet other avid romance readers and to see their energy and excitement for books – given the recent studies on how readers tend to develop more empathy than average people, it’s no wonder that meeting other avid readers always makes me light up with hope and enthusiasm.
3) The Fudge Ladies vendor at this conference is DANGEROUS. I sampled some of her stuff and promptly bought three bags. I’ll foist some of it off on the friend I’m staying with Sunday night as a gift, but I’m sure I won’t resist gorging myself on the rest of it. If you’re at RomCon or ever make it to Denver, definitely look for them!
4) Elizabeth Hoyt and Julia Quinn are both rockstars (obvi). I went to the hotel restaurant to have lunch and ran into my friend/fellow San Francisco RWA chapter mate Isobel Carr, who invited me to join her and her friend…who turned out to be none other than Elizabeth Hoyt, a fantabulous historical romance writer on whom I have a gigantic crush. I managed to subdue my inner fangirl squeeing, and getting to know her over lunch was lovely – she’s funny and gracious in person, which is always nice to discover about one of your favorite authors.
And at the end of author speed dating, I got to spend ten minutes or so with Julia Quinn, which rocked my world since I’ve been a diehard fan ever since the Bridgertons (but then, who hasn’t?). Oddly enough, I shared a garage with her sister last year, so we had a bit of a random connection. She’s also smart and fun and totally down to earth, and very, very eager to meet readers – I’m really in awe of how she connects with people. So, meeting her and Elizabeth Hoyt were definitely my highlights for the day!
5) As for lowlights…I’m tens of thousands of words behind where I intended to be on Muses #3 (Ellie’s story), since I took almost a month off in May due to some family medical issues. I’m also somewhat shy at conferences (which makes no sense to anyone, given how very not-shy I am with my friends), and so those factors combined into a perfect storm that made me decide to hang out in my room and write tonight. I didn’t get as far along as I had hoped, but at least I made some progress.
Are any of you shy conference-goers? What do you do to overcome it? I’m totally fine in person (see: not making a fool of myself with the readers at the speed dating or JQ/Elizabeth Hoyt), but gearing up to walk out of my room is sometimes daunting. That feels vaguely like oversharing, but writers are a somewhat introverted bunch, so I don’t think this revelation is all that shocking :)
More fun awaits tomorrow, including some Highland Games and something called the Chocolate Mangasm – stay tuned!