#RWA13 Author Signing!

RWA Literacy Autographing

What better way to revive RtR than by recapping one of the biggest romance reader events of the year! After struggling with my reading mojo for months, when I heard that this year’s Romance Writer’s Convention was being held in Atlanta — and that they were having an event for the public — I knew I had to go! With over 400 authors (and easily double that many attendees!), the #RWA13 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing was hands down the BEST bookish event I’ve ever been to!

I didn’t know what to expect, but I did do a bit of research the day before by making a list of which authors I had to meet. On the day of the event, in true Georgia summer fashion, the weather was erratic — rolling clouds, sticky, humid temps… it looked like it was going to open up and start pouring at any minute — but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! I made it to the hotel with ten minutes to spare and right before the thunderstorms began (whew!). When I arrived, I stopped dead in my tracks — literally. The line to get into the atrium was insane! Silly me for thinking that I was just going to waltz in, when in fact I should’ve arrived hours before as opposed to mere minutes. Luckily, once they opened the doors the line moved quickly and before I knew it I was in a room filled with people just like me — bookish, rom-loving fans. The air was electric!

Even though there were hundreds of people mingling about and standing in line to meet their favorite authors, I was able to make my way around and meet all the authors on my list! Talk about fangirling — I altered between squeeing my love, tumbling over my words, to being speechless. I can say, though, that there were a lot of “Oh my god!” and “It’s such an honor to meet you!”

The Authors

The best part is, every single author I talked to was SO NICE and genuinely happy to be there, interacting with fans! Then again, why wouldn’t they be? They write happily ever afters for a living! Everyone knows that romance lovers are nicer people ;) In addition to meeting all my favorites, I also scooped up copies of each of their books — complete with personalized autographs!

Book Haul + Autograph

When I finally made my way to the checkout line, my final haul was 8 books, including a reprint of the first romance book I ever read. A respectable amount, I’d say — especially considering how many I could have ended up with. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I hadn’t come prepared with an empty suitcase!

Despite the crappy weather, I’m so glad I went and got a chance to mingle with “my own kind.” Now that I’ve gotten my convention feet wet, I’m already planning how I can attend the next event… RT Con, anyone??

 

Extras! Extras! Read All About ‘Em!

I tend to have mixed feelings when discovering a book I really love. On one hand, I rejoice in being able to lose myself in the story and connect with the characters; on the other hand, however, I know that this compelling story will have to end at some point. By the time I come to the last paragraph on the last page, I’ve fallen so in love with the characters and setting that I wish I could actually live there. Since that’s pretty much impossible (I say pretty much because while there is the power of imagination, that kind of extensive daydreaming would earn me a one-way ticket to the looney bin), the next best thing is to discover that the author has provided supplemental material to said books/series.

One example that springs to mind is Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold, CA series. The only thing that’s better than getting lost in a good book is being able to keep up with the characters even after the story has finished, and Ms. Mallery has splendidly provided readers with plenty of series extras. The Fool’s Gold site is chock-full of extras, from FG cheerleaders, to customizable e-postcards, to even detailed FG magazine issues about the town and its notorious bachelors. What’s even more fun is how the site boasts festivals and other town happenings — while they may be fiction as well, it’s fun to explore and picture yourself mingling with the townspeople.

Another great example of fab, in-depth extras is Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series. I’ve mentioned before how Cedar Cover is at the top of my “Ideal Small Town” list, and I still stand by that notion. From a detailed town map, to Covebook (Cedar Cove’s version of Facebook), this town’s got it all! The biggest upside, though, is that it’s loosely based on a real coastal town called Port Orchard, so technically it’s possible to visit to get a feel for what Ms. Macomber writes about in her best-selling books.

Granted, not all book and series extras have to be this detailed; I get excited over simple guest posts written from the POV of a book’s hero/heroine — or, in the case of Dr. Hot and HoneyPot from Inez Kelley’s Turn It Up, their own Twitter account. Regardless of the medium, I just love being able to continue interacting even after the book is over. Not only does it add a certain level of depth to the story, but it also makes me more inclined to check a certain author or series out, because I know there’ll be the option of exploring more once I’ve finished reading.

ROAMING QUESTION: What do you think of books/series with “extras” or “bonuses”? Do you read them at all? If so, what’s the most memorable one you’ve ever come across?

Truly, Madly in Love

For my first post, I thought it only appropriate to talk about The Book That Started it All. And by ‘it,’ I mean my love affair with romance books.

I was 15 when I stumbled across Truly, Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson at a yard sale. Though it was nestled in a stack of other 25 cent contemporary romance books, the story between Delaney and Nick caught my attention more than the others. She was a hairdresser, and he was the town’s bad boy, and the chemistry between them set my eyes ablaze! Top it off with a small, quirky town called Truly (still one of the best fictional towns I’ve ever read about) and I had myself a new love — a love for romances.

After Truly, Madly Yours, each time I went to the bookstore, I made a beeline to the ‘G’s in the romance section and bought something by Rachel Gibson. At the time, she was all I knew, and I knew she wrote amazingly. Titles like Simply Irresistible, It Must be Love and Lola Carlyle Reveals All quickly followed.

Then one day, I decided to roam around the romance section to see what else caught my eye. At the time, my knowledge of romances was limited, so I had no choice but to stick with what I knew, which was bright, playful covers. Hand me a book with a curly title and a cutesy drawing of a woman (or her accessories), and chances are I’d be a happy camper — which is how I learned about other contemp authors like Susan Mallery, Carly Phillips and Jennifer Crusie. At the time, I didn’t feel bad for judging books based on their covers because while their covers were cute and colorful, the stories inside them were just as alluring!

Nowadays, my tastes have expanded beyond just cutesy covers (though they still hold much appeal); and with my Kindle, the whole notion of choosing books based on their covers has been thrown to the wind, leaving me free to read whatever I want! So there you have it — the story of how I came to love romances. And to think, it only cost me a quarter.

ROAMING QUESTION: Romance lovers (and other bibliophiles), what was your Book That Started it All? Have you reread it since then?