Monday, July 31, 2006

The inside scene at a romance writers conference

One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Peters, wrote a murder mystery set at a romance writers convention. Die For Love is a tongue-in-cheek, hilarious poke at the business with a good, solid mystery behind it. It stars one of her regular heroines, Jacqueline Kirby, a sexy, red-headed librarian who decides to write a romance novel and attends the conference for a write-off.

However, Ms. Peters, who, while she writes some of the absolute most romantic books (and my very very all-time-favorite book), isn't a romance writer...and she got a few things wrong.

First of all, the book was written in the '70s, during the time our industry was known for writing those infamous bodice-rippers.

And secondly, ours is a conference, not a convention--the difference being the conference is for those in the industry (writers, agents, editors); while a convention is for the fans of the industry and is open to readers as well. (Romantic Times has a convention every year, and although I haven't attended, I'm thinking there might be more pink and lace and tulle there. Definitely more cover models.)

Here's the inside scoop at a romance writers' conference...

Things you might experience:
  • All the ladies' rooms turned into mens' rooms. (Check the signage, though, before you blast in, 'cause they usually leave one or two in the hotel for the guys.)
  • All the hotel bars filled with imbibing romance writers, agents, and editors from the time they open till the time they close.
  • A special table set up in the conference area for attendees to ship home boxes of free books they received at the conference.
  • Little to no eye contact on first approach to a new person--instead, everyone is looking at boob-height to see what your badge says (who you are, whether you're published, if you've made your first sale or are a Golden Heart or RITA finalist, etc.)
Things you won't experience at the conference:
  • Lots of women dressed in flowing caftans with boas, glittering jewelry, and/or gloves.
  • Lots of pink.
  • Bunting, tulle, lace, satin, feathers, etc. No, no, no. Only in the workshop sessions focusing on historical costume, thankyouverymuch.
  • Clouds of perfume. (No one wears it, because, can you imagine 2000 women enclosed in small rooms, elevators, bars, and even ballrooms, each wearing a different scent?)
  • Fabio, or his successors.


Blogger Jaye Wells soliloquized...

I had a serial story on my blog about a Fabio being murdered at a conference. The main suspect was a romance author. Great fun to write. I think I'll look for the Peters book now.

I saw you in Atlanta but was too chicken to introduce myself. The shirts looked great!

Monday, July 31, 2006 7:55:00 PM  
Blogger Heather Harper soliloquized...

I hadn't thought of that many women wearing perfume.

That does sound nauseating.

Monday, July 31, 2006 8:19:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Jaye, that serial story sounds fabulous! What a great idea! Is it still up?

Heather, you're right, it would be nauseating with all that perfume, and for anyone who's allergic,it would really be awful. So always before conference, there are tons of people posting on every loop reminding the ladies to leave their perfume at home.

However, when I walked into the Awards Ceremnony (after it was full), the night where everyone really dresses to the nines, I smelled an overwhelming cloud of hairspray in the room...kind of like when you walk into a bar and you're hit with that wall of cigarette smoke.

Kinda funny. Hairspray=cigarette smoke.

Monday, July 31, 2006 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Jaye Wells soliloquized...

Colleen, yes it's on my sidebar. The title is "Romance is Murder."

I noticed the hairspray too. Everyone looked fabulous though and the program was so funny. I have to watch all those movies again, especially Romancing the Stone.

Monday, July 31, 2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger briliantdonkey soliloquized...

Hey Colleen,

I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for your comments over on my side o the world. As I was reading your post about the conference I was thinking "hmmmm I wonder if she knows another blogger I have recently started to know who was also there, I will have to ask her." I see though, that Jaye already commented and found my answer. Congratulations to your group on cleaning up out there! Sounds like a great time was had by all.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006 1:38:00 AM  

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