By Kristin Daniels
I’ve waited all week to blog about my experience at Ellora’s Cave’s RomantiCon, held this past weekend in Ohio! As a newbie, my conference knowledge is pretty minimal, but this weekend surpassed all my expectations. And from what I’m reading on many author and reader loops, I’m not the only one who feels that way.
It all started for me last Thursday. I drove from the burbs of Chicago to Richfield, OH with only one major oops – I missed my exit right before I hit Indiana! Duh to me -- what a way to start a road trip! Thank goodness for my GPS and Barbara Biatch (my affectionate name for that mysterious GPS voice), who rerouted me. Soon I was headed the right way on Interstate 80/90 with the cruise set at a nice 72 mph (Yeah, I speed, but only a little. Shhh, don’t tell anyone!). My IPod kept me company, and, being by myself, I grabbed the opportunity to sing along with Pink at the top of my lungs.
One pit stop and over 350 miles later, I was there. Check in went smoothly (the entire Quality Inn, Richfield staff was just amazing), and soon I was freshening up to head to my editor’s house for dinner with four other authors. Barbara Biatch, with a helping hand from M.A. Ellis, led us through an adorable little town before we arrived at our destination. Dinner was fantastic, and the company even better.
I was able to relax on Friday morning before the conference started in full swing that afternoon. I was asked to be on a panel with EC Publisher/Editor Raelene Gorlinsky, along with authors Samantha Kane and Lynn LaFluer. It was fun and insightful. Afterwards, I attended another workshop on researching and writing m/m stories. Informative would be an understatement.
Authors Lynn LaFleur, Samantha Kane, myself,
and EC Publisher Raelene Gorlinsky.
I then met up with a critique partner in the bar (which ended up being a very popular meeting place). It was so great meeting this woman who I now call a friend, J. Hali Steele. It’s funny how you can email back and forth with someone for a while, but once you meet in person a bond forms. Hugs and smooches to her.
Whoo hooo, it’s time for the Psychedelic Soiree! Can I just say how much fun I had that night? EC’s Cavemen started us off right, and the dance contest held by Samantha Kane and Mari Freeman was an absolute riot!
Saturday boasted more wonderful workshops, and a visit or two to the Voyeur Lounge (I know what you’re thinking, and shame on you! The Voyeur Lounge was a room set up to showcase all the brilliant book trailers created by the EC authors. You could sit and chill, have a snack, chat and be entertained).
All the while, readers, reviewers, staff and authors alike are introducing themselves to one another and kibitzing. Or more like laughing! I’ve never met such smart, funny and genuinely nice people. Everyone was on the same page, and that made the entire mood upbeat, yet relaxed at the same time. There wasn’t any that “You write what?” to deal with. Again, hugs to all the lovers of Erotic Romance!
Then came the Awards Dinner and an opportunity to be photographed with the Cavemen. Black pants, white suspenders and fedoras, oh my! The food was great, and before the ceremony started we were treated to another dance routine by the guys. And, well… Words can’t really describe it, so take a look (Sorry for the chit chat in the background. It’s a new camera and I thought it wasn’t recording)…
During the ceremony, I was lucky enough to receive a Rising Star award for having my first release with EC in 2009. Other fun, kitschy awards were handed out, too. I need to pick up Tracy Cooper-Posey’s book to find out why she won for best use of a chocolate chip cookie!
Author Samantha Kane, Ellora's Cave Publisher/Editor Raelene Gorlinsky, and Me
Sunday came way too soon, and by that time I was so tired I could barely see straight (I’m one of those who have a hell of a time sleeping in hotels). Regardless, I sat in on a workshop before heading over to the book fair room to set up my space. It was my first one as an author, and I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. Everyone who stopped by was so nice (and one was really cute, too… wink…). I ended up signing several books (how cool is that? LOL!) before all was said and done.
I hugged my new friends good-bye, skipped the Bingo party and cut out early. I had a long drive ahead of me, but even knowing that, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad as I drove away. I’d met such great people and laughed like I hadn’t in a while (Sam, you just kill me!).
I want to give some major kudos to the EC staff (especially Jeania and Valerie), along with the staff of the hotel. Everyone worked tirelessly and they pulled the entire weekend off without a hitch. My thank-you’s are sincerely heartfelt.
Next year’s dates have already been reserved (Oct 7-10 at the same hotel), and I can’t hardly wait! I’ll be one of the first to sign up when registration opens next month. I hope to see you all there!
On another note -- seven days until my newest Ellora's Cave release! I'll tell you more about it next week, but for now, here's the cover and blurb:
Brynn Lang is already beyond nervous about getting naked in front of the camera for her first big Hollywood love scene, and the situation only worsens when her new co-star arrives on the movie set. No way can she rush head-first into filming a passionate sex scene, not with the one man who broke her heart.
Fresh from a three month stint in rehab, Ryan Manning is now clear, focused and ready to tackle this role of a lifetime. But there’s more than just dollar signs and super-stardom enticing him. Brynn’s here, looking sexier than ever. Ryan’s determined to make amends for his drunk-assed mistakes and win her back, and he can’t think of a better way to jump-start her desire than reminding her of the inferno that always raged between them whenever they touched.
But nothing’s ever that easy. Brynn’s furious and refuses to listen. This time, he’s on his own. There’s no script for him to follow. All he has is sincerity, honesty, and love.
He hopes to hell and back it’ll be enough.
Until next week...