13 Hilarious, Heartbreaking, and Horrifying Moments of RomCon 2010. With Quiz.

A selective and impressionistic report of RomCon 2010, Denver, CO

I had a great time at Romcon. This won’t be my last romance conference, for sure.

RomCon 2010 Books

I took home maybe 1/4 of the books given to me. They put books on the chairs at meals and events — it was pretty funny to watch people choose their seats that way — and you could often win them throughout the weekend.

I am sorry I don’t have more pictures. You can read others’ reports — * = with pictures — here:

Author Courtney Milan

*Felicia, of Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog

Jane Litte, Dear Author, Day 1 and Day 2

*Katiebabs of Babbling About Books,  Day 1 and Day 2 and Day 3

Kristie(j) of Rambling son Romance, Day 1

Sarah Wendell, Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Day 1 and Day 2 reports

Sister Golden Blog, Day 1 and Day 2

Sonomalass , my frequent partner in crime at the con. Word to the wise: she is NOT the right choice to help you maintain self-control at a book fair. I’m just sayin’.

There will be more reports to come from others. For one thing, I am pretty sure Stacey Agdern (@NYStacey), whom it was great to meet, is writing something for Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book.

The Moments:

1. Breakfast with Kim of SOS Aloha, Anna Campbell, Jo Beverley, Cathy Maxwell, and a few others, in which everyone revealed which beloved books they don’t love. On the list? Harry Potter, Outlander and Lord of Scoundrels. And, no, I will never tell who hates what.

2. Drinks in the lounge with UF authors Carolyn  “It’s not charades, really, it’s not” Crane (my awesome roomie), Jeanne Stein, and Nicole Peeler, and Tor Books editor Heather Osborn, as well as erotic romance author Monica Kaye, as we prepared a charades-type game for an event. They came up with a lot of — er — interesting ideas for any UF authors looking for new hero/ine names, although something tells me “Chunt” is not going to appeal.

3. Lunch with Kristie(j) of Ramblings on Romance and Sonomalass in which they shared how romance novels, authors and fellow readers helped them to cope with difficult times. Tears and laughter.

4. Thoroughly and irretrievably embarrassing myself at the book signing by thanking Elizabeth Hoyt for responding to Stacey Agdern’s guest post on Jewish identity in Never Deceive a Duke. As Ms. Hoyt diplomatically pointed out, she didn’t write that book.

5. Having a lovely non-romance moment, with @Growlycub, viewing pics of her prize winning Maine coons.

6. Team Cucumber meetup, with Carolyn Jewel, Sonomalass, Carolyn Crane, Katiebabs, Meljean Brook, and Amanda McCabe. Let’s just say you can have a lot of fun with plastic mini pickles, homemade cucumber pins, an RT magazine, and free flowing California wine.

7. A discussion about why violence is ok, but sex is not, in YA, over brunch with Carolyn Crane, Sonomalass, agent Louise Fury, Jeanne Stein, Nicole Peeler, Katiebabs, and Courtney Milan.

8. Stepping into an elevator with a NY times bestselling author whose work I admire who read my name tag and told me she reads this blog.

9. A late and long gab session with roomie Carolyn Crane and TGTBTU reviewer @limecello.

10. On the excellent “Meet Tor Books” panel  —  the best and most informative panel I hit over the weekend — author Carrie Vaughn saying she used to be a book buyer at an independent book store. She said publishers’ reps used to tell her over and over again that every new release was “the next big thing” and she’d better order them by the truckload or be sorry. The worst offender, she said, was the Scholastic rep. Having been burned too many times by him, one day in 1998 she finally said no. The book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

11. Meeting uber blogger Sarah Wendell, who told me she read an article I wrote about, of all things, rural bioethics.

12. Saying, “I hate Highland romances” to a very nice woman on the hotel shuttle, only to realize 10 seconds later that her name was Monica McCarty.

13. Being served a gin and tonic at the hotel bar which was, in fact, comprised of gin, club soda, and sprite. “It tastes the same,” the bartender assured me. It doesn’t, I assure you.


1. Which force-of-nature Australian romance author tried to convince me to substitute an Aussie hero for a British one in the Boer War Romance I am not writing with my historian husband?

2. Which UF romance author boarded the Denver airport bus carrying a poster describing her 2nd-place-winning “perfect hero”, and mused aloud that had she only given him a second penis, he might have come in first?

3. Which historical romance author noted with wry amusement that in the same year she won the Best Long Historical Romance RITA for the same book that the AAR reader’s poll named “Worst Read” and “Most Disappointing” read?

4. Which UF romance author was a horror-movie-loving child who shocked her minister on her first day of Sunday school by answering his query as to what was on the church wall (a crucifix) with: “oh, that’s the thing you use to keep the vampires out!”?

5. Which historical romance author said, “I will write for yarn. Throw some Alpaca my way and I am all over you.”?

6. Which paranormal romance author said, “Believe it or not, I am a feminist.”?

7. Which UF romance author said, “I just don’t find zombies romantic. Maybe it’s the whole ‘falling off’ thing.”?

8. Which historical romance author said romance is not about merely happy endings, but “triumphant ones … emphasis on the ‘umph‘”?

9. Which UF author said she chose to write a half-selkie heroine because “Seals are pretty boring. They just lie around all day.”?

10. Which UF author loves Harlequin Presents, and, in fact, admitted they are what she turns to when in a romance reading slump?

11. Which multi-genre author is amazed and grateful that no reviewers have given away a key spoiler at the end of her latest book?

Authors (one is quoted more than once):

  • Julia Quinn
  • Jo Beverley
  • Meljean Brook
  • Janiene Frost
  • Pamela Clare
  • Elizabeth Boyle
  • Anna Campbell
  • Nicole Peeler
  • Christine Feehan
  • Jessa Slade

3. By far, the best part of the conference was just meeting and talking to other readers, especially those named in this post whom I have been interacting with online for months now — and I include some authors in that group, because I talked to them mostly as fellow readers in informal settings. I could have skipped every panel and enjoyed this weekend.

I did, of course, attend several panels and events, such as Anti-Heroes You Hate to Love, Author Fairy Godmothers to the Rescue, Readers Crown Awards, Bestill My Heart: Does your Favorite Hero’s Heart Beat?, Monsters & More Semi-Charades, Historical Authors Tea, the Blogger Oh Blogger panel, The Blogger/Reviewer Mixer, keynotes by Lori Foster and Carly Phillips, etc.. I certainly have my opinions on them, but didn’t feel like writing that kind of post for some reason. I am happy to answer any questions anyone has about those.

24 responses

  1. I agree on all the moments you mention that I shared — esp. 3, 6, 7, 8 & 10. It was a good weekend, and especially good to meet you in person.

    I wish I had been there when the bartender tried that crap with the fake tonic. NOT THE SAME.

    As for the book fair? Hey, I will be your sugar mama anytime!


  2. Hi Jessica,

    It was wonderful to meet you and all of the other smart and fun women I’ve gotten to know online. This weekend was so full of win –I cannot wait to do it all over again next year!


  3. Reading all these con reports has me crazy-excited for RWA. Yes, it is more of a writer’s event than a reader’s event, but even without the fantastic workshops I had a great time last year!

    Great post!


  4. Quiz question #11 is Pamela Clare! In 15 years of reading romance, I’ve never actually been surprised by an ending but NAKED EDGE did. Loved the book. Gabe was hero personified.

    I am definitely going to try to attend RomCon next year, really appreciate all the feedback. Thanks!


  5. It was so great to meet with you in person – and we will definitely do it again!!
    I haven’t been to any other kind of ‘fan’ conference/convention before, but I can’t for the life of me imagine that it would any more heartwarming than meeting up with fellow fans of the romance genre. There were so many great meetings and talks – I think that’s partly why I couldn’t sleep last night *g*. Too busy remembering them all. One of the best was introducing my friend Jessica to my friend Pamela *g*.


  6. #6 has to be Christine Feehan.

    I enjoy reading this sort of thing. So fun. Thank you. I’m dying to know who didn’t like Outlander. What do I have to do to get you to tell me?

    Have to admit, I’m still pointing and laughing at you for making that little cock-up with Elizabeth Hoyt and the Liz Carlyle novel.


  7. I’m so going next year. I am setting aside funds. I really wanted to go this year but could afford to do it with all my other vacation plans.

    Promise me, y’all, that you’ll be equally as entertaining next year?


  8. That bartender seems to have gotten the barkeeper’s tonic substitute mixed up with the ginger ale one (7up+bitters). Kind of hard to fake tonic without *something* to mimic the quinine flavor.

    Also vote Anna Campbell for #1 and Feehan for #6. Also Boyle for #5 (yay knitters!) and #3 has to be Julia Quinn. The wry amusement (and obvious good nature) give it away.

    I will have to go next year. I even have in-laws I really like in Denver, plus a cabin to borrow!


  9. Is # 3 Anna Campbell? I first thought it was Jo Beverley but I don’t think I’ve ever read a negative word about her work on AAR.

    And thank you for telling us about the person who hated Lord of Scoundrel. Even not knowing who she is (can I get a hint?), it does my heart good to know that I’m not alone.


  10. #12 about Highland Romances made me laugh out loud.

    Though I’m sorry I decided somewhat last minute not to attend RomCon because it means I missed out on meeting a lot of bloggers I’ve never had a chance to meet with, I must admit it was nice not to be traveling again!


  11. @SonomaLass: I wish you had been at the bar, too! you would not have taken that crappy facsimile, I am sure of it.

    @carolyn jewel: Loved meeting you, Carolyn. You are so lucky to live near Sonomalass, as hard as it must be on your wallet. Can’t wait to read my singed copy of My Forbidden Desire.

    @Melissa: Hi Melissa. I was so glad to discover you sitting next to me at dinner! Hope we cross paths again soon.

    @AnimeJune: You will have an amazing time. And I have a very good feeling you will have more that that by the time you leave…

    @katiebabs: Same here! Thanks for showing us noobs the conference ropes.

    @Scorpio M.: You are correct on the P. Clare. What a hell of an ending, wasn’t it? I confess to shedding a tear or two.

    @KristieJ: So great to meet you, too! Wish I could go to RWA, but since I can’t, I will be waiting breathlessly for your reports. Crossing my fingers our conference stars align in 2011.

    @Maili: Correct on the Feehan. And since you made fun of me for embarrassing myself I will never tell you who hated Outlander — and hated JAMIE especially. Muahhhhhh.

    @Angela/Lazaraspaste: I missed you, definitely. I was dying to spring your theory of An Unwilling Bride on JoBev, but I didn’t want to steal your thunder. I think it will be RWA for me next year, as I can drive to NY from Maine, and it’s going to be the same week at IASPR. But you never know…

    @Keziah Hill: Yup. You know her so well.

    @Victoria Janssen: You are welcome.

    @Sunita: You are right on all 3 guesses. And if you are at RomCon next year, I may well have to go too.

    @janicu: So glad. I was doing the same for BEA.

    @Las: No, 3 is Julia Quinn, for On The Way to the Wedding. Good guess, tho.

    @willaful: Yup.

    @Angela James: Thanks for stopping by. There were a few Harlequin reps there who were great to chat with. See you next time around!


  12. @Vi: Yep on Elizabeth Boyle! There was a swap table. I put them there. A lovely mom and daughter duo from Massachusetts got a bunch of them.

    @Carolyn Crane: Oh, answers. You want those? hmmm…

    Ok, folks have already guess a bunch. I will fill in the rest:

    2 is Jessa Slade

    4 and 7 are Janiene Frost

    8 was a keynote by JoBev, which I did not actually attend. If I got this quote wrong, you can blame Sonomalass.

    9 was Nicole Peeler

    10 was Meljean Brook


  13. There’s a theory of The Unwilling Bride that I haven’t heard of? Link me up Scottie (please) … great round-up! Thanks!


  14. Having attended RomCon, you offer an accurate recap of the madcap fun! And your discussion with Anna about the Boer War was entertaining! Thank you for not disclosing who didn’t like what books … let it remain our secret!


  15. I love making conferences and wish I could make them all. However, writing many different genre spreads me too thin.


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