It’s all about connecting on a personal level at this increasingly popular literary event that was created in 2009 and is celebrating their sixth year of bringing readers and writers together in the Mile High City.
I wore a few hats while attending my first Rom Con: avid reader, author, and host of Reader’s Entertainment Radio show. I can tell you that from the moment I stepped through the door of the Renaissance Denver Hotel, I was impressed by the regal bearing of the hotel, incredible hospitality and undercurrent of excitement. And that was before I’d even reached the escalator to go down to register for Rom Con!
Once I got there, I was like Maria from Sound of Music being let loose on a huge mountain with plenty of space to roam wild and sing to her heart’s content, though I spared everyone my karaoke level singing…I was belting out the tunes on the inside.
Why you ask? Because outside of my family, a few of my favorite things are reading, writing, communing with fellow readers and authors, and free swag, swag, swag…I was greeted by all of these at registration. I should point out that I’ve been to lots of conventions since I arrived on the literary scene as an eager aspiring author in 2002, and every one of them had a different vibe. My take on Rom Con? It’s a wonderful blend of fun, appreciation and learning.
At the helm of this organization are authors, ML Callahan, and Vanessa Vale (also writes as Jennifer Zane). Since its inception, Rom Con has attracted over 600 authors (NYT bestsellers, indie, traditional and newly published authors). In addition to an annual convention, RomCon offers many ways for readers and authors to connect, including an eMagazine, the RomCon Reader, the Readers’ Crown contest, and blogs featuring everything from new releases to Writing 101.
At the convention, first and foremost it’s all about celebrating readers. They are the long tent pole in this establishment and trust me, readers love it! Here’s a breakdown of my weekend:
There were many mixers to break the ice among convention goers, intimate chats and speed dates with authors, plenty of games for the readers hosted by authors. I was one of the authors that hosted the Sweet & Sassy Bingo, along with authors, Pat Simmons, Karen Docter, Pauline Gruber, Megan Kelly, Bonnie Phelps, Nancy Naigle, Allie Pleiter and Carolyn Brown. There were gifts, amazing Bingo card souvenirs with all our book covers and names created by Bonnie Phelps, and lots, and lots of chocolate kisses to use as bingo chips. It was a wonderful turnout with readers getting lots of books, author swag and candy, of course. Our designated caller, Allie Pleiter even found a Bingo calling app. She took Bingo announcing to a whole new level!! I really wish we’d have recorded this event. It was priceless! The rest of the authors all rotated providing our guests with cards, and candy. Now I know what game show hosts and their assistants feel like. It’s a LOT of work, but worth every minute.
Another perk was being able to meet, and chat with authors I’d never met before. I found out that Allie was celebrating her one millionth book sold, as was Carolyn Brown…and that was just with one publisher! Carolyn has written over 85 novels in her career and from the looks of it, has no plans at slowing down. Her husband was on hand to take pictures of our event, as was Pat Simmons’ husband, Kerry. Well he was more like security, driver, mover, books carrier and more. Ah, what our husbands don’t do for us!
Today was about lots of books, laughter and giveaways! For authors looking to hone their skills, and learn new tips on the business side of writing, there were workshops and panel discussions. Readers got another chance to chat one-on-one with authors and play more games. A Reader Luncheon gave everyone the perfect opportunity to sit and enjoy a delicious meal while listening to Keynote speaker, NYT Bestselling author Jodi Thomas. Her story was inspiring with great moments of laughter, and a few tears. Authors really delivered on giveaways and door prizes during the luncheon. One of the highlights was Pat Simmons winning a leather laptop bag and Kindle Fire donated by Carolyn Brown. Let’s just say there was lots of jumping, screaming and hugs. If I’d have videotaped that moment it would’ve went viral. Luckily, I was able to snap a few pics to mark the occasion.
Keeping with the momentum, the author book signing and Wild West Cowboy Party later in the day did not disappoint. By the end of the weekend I was exhausted, but it was well worth my pilgrimage from North Carolina (with pit stops in St. Louis, MO, Junction City, KS, and Fairview Heights, Illinois). Besides, any chance I get to visit the mountains, hang out with new people and try chocolate covered bacon (oh yes I did), is win-win.
Vanessa Vale, ML Callahan, and their leadership team are already planning for the 7th Annual Rom Con. Mark your calendars for September 30-October 1, 2016 at the Renaissance Denver Hotel. New York Times bestselling author, Heather Graham will be there, and hosting the Friday night party. If you’ve ever been to one of Heather’s parties…you know it’s a not-to-be-missed event! I suggest you bring comfy shoes, hydrate, and drag an extra suitcase along because you’ll need lots of room for all those goodies you’ll get!
For more information, or to sign up for the Author Interest list, go to: http://www.romcon.com/romcon-2016.