Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tanya Writes About the National RWA Conference

At my first Romance Writers of America national convention a few years ago, a friend told us of riding down the elevator and hearing two guys chat.

"There sure are a lot of women in this hotel right now," one mused to his buddy.

"Yeah," his friend replied. "I think it's a lesbian convention."

Needless to say, the remark still draws laughter. Truth is, romance writers come in all shapes and sizes, all classes, cultures, ages and genres. Yes, there is lesbian fiction. But there are a few guys who write romance, too.

We've all got one common goal: romance and happy endings for a couple in love.

I was excited to attend this years national in San Francisco. For one thing, its a to-die-for city although RWA's busy schedule doesn't allow for a great deal of touring. Most of all, I wanted to meet an editor and an agent I've had my eyes on.

Fortunately I met both, and each requested some projects. (Maybe it helped that a recent reviewer compared Midnight Bride, my current release at Cobblestone Press, to the writing of Diana Palmer LOL.) Whatever, that was a goal attained. (Next goal: getting them to buy/sell my stuff!)

I traveled with my wonderful friend, author Charlene Sands, and our friend Kathy Bennett who writes arresting cop suspense. Writing is a pretty solitary occupation, and I'm at best, worst? --a total homebody who likes hanging out with my hero best of all. So large groups are a tad overwhelming. Charlene, who won the Booksellers Best Award for her sizzling Desire, Fortune's Vengeful Groom, and I managed to spend half a day shopping in Chinatown. And we had dinner with two of our great friends who used to be our neighbors but now live in other states --Gail Ranstrom who writes wonderful Regencies. And Cynthia Cooke, whose dark edgy works have landed her contracts with Nocturne.

Over dinner at The Stinking Rose (read garlic-- I even asked for my salmon vampire-style) Cynthia and I discussed vampire sex. How does he, you know, get it up if he doesn't have a living heart to get blood flow? How does he get breathless if he's, like dead and doesn't need air?

Oh, it's a mystery.

I bought so many books at the literary signing of authors I know or long to read that my suitcase at the airport was one and a half pounds over. All I had to do was remove two of them! And I need to let Cynthia know that the research book I bought, The Science of Vampires has a whole chapter on vampire sex. Whatever, the proceeds of all books signed and sold goes to Adult Literacy, and almost $60,000 was raised that night alone!

Hearing keynote speaker Victoria Alexander was a howling success. What a great speech, full of anecdote, wit, wisdom, and humor. I learned that after her third book, when her hubby Chuck confessed he hadn't read her books, she decided that in every future book she wrote, somehow, somewhere, some character would have a dead husband named Charles.

Best of all was meeting staff from The Wild Rose Press, my new publishing home for Marrying Minda. And also at that "Meet and Greet" were members of SARA --San Antonio Romance Authors-- who recently awarded Minda first place in the historical division of the Merritt "Magic Moment" Contest. What a night.

But it is good to be home, though. However, while I was away, we did get bad news about Marley so that's the next emotional venue for this romance writer. But until I'm up to writing that blog, let me know what books you like to read.

Western romance? Vampires? Paranormal? Short contemps? Rich historical fiction like Phillippa Gregory? Oldies but goodies by Georgette Heyer? John Adams?

Let me know!

Next up: The Greatest American Dog

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