“Why do you go to those things? Aren’t you embarrassed?” They seem like odd questions now, but I used to hear them all the time. I am a huge fan of romance novels. I love them. Love, love, love them. Thrillers, paranormals, urban fantasies, historicals – I read them all. Romance novels are my safe place, my happy place. I get lost in them and feel forlorn after finishing an exceptional one.
A perk I never expected to experience was the remarkable camaraderie between romance readers. One of my first forays into this fantastic world of like-minded dreamers was the annual Romantic Times Convention in 2007. What an incredible way to meet and mingle with my favorite authors and their amazing fans. Oh yeah, did I mention there were cover models there, too? My eyes still haven’t recovered from the strain of trying to take in all the beefcake.
I was so nervous about going, I even ordered videos from conventions past to try to assuage my anxiety. I had been romance-shamed by a few of my peers so I was a bit gun shy. I used to hide my book covers for fear of being caught reading one of those “bodice rippers”. The few friends that had revealed their secret love of romance novels definitely kept their habit on the down low. If not for message boards like RBL (Google it), I don’t think I would have had the balls to go.
Once I bit the bullet and bought my ticket, I felt kind of giddy. This was really happening! I was actually going to get a chance to breath the same air as these “rock stars”. Just like listening to your favorite song can evoke strong feelings of joy or melancholy, re-reading a favorite romance is like visiting an old friend, feels like we’ve never been apart.
I’ll admit, prepping for the convention was almost as fun as going. I read the RT Convention website over and over again. I studied the panels, schedule, and parties like a pre-med student studying for the MCAT. Geek much? Oh, yes! I was a little too shy to prepare a proper costume, but I managed to throw a few things together. By the time the actual day came around for me to leave, I was beyond excited.
My first series of blogs will be about my crazy newbie impressions and experiences. It’s an amazing way to make lifelong friends from all over the world, and I’m so glad I took that first step.