This weekend, I went to the Washington Romance Writers retreat for the first time. I have to admit: I was a bit nervous. What would a whole conference full of romance writers be like? Would I be required to read my sex scenes aloud? Would Fabio hit on me? I needn’t have worried.
The kickoff was an incredible Mega Book Signing featuring the legendary Nora Roberts and a dozen other romance authors at Turn the Page Books, Nora’s terrific independent bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland. Hundreds of enthusiastic romance readers came from far and wide and bought armloads of books. It was great to meet such a devoted group of readers, and to chat with some of my favorite authors. I was lucky to sit next to Pamela Palmer, Christine Trent, and #1 NYT bestseller Robyn Carr, who later gave the retreat’s keynote speech and was witty, wise and inspiring. I now have a serious girl crush on her.
I also learned that Nora Roberts is a bit of a baby whisperer. Amanda Brice’s little boy fell in love…
The retreat itself was fabulous – not only featuring writing classes led by bestselling authors like Elizabeth Boyle, but yoga, massage, and drunken karaoke. There was even a raucous game of Romance Jeopardy, which included categories like “Heaving Bosoms” and “Throbbing Members.”
Present were 130 women and 1 man. The single legendary Y chromosome belongs to Tim Bentler-Jungr, a most hilarious and charming gentleman, who was quite chivalrous about allowing the hordes of ladies to use the men’s room. Here he is, with acclaimed romance writer Kathleen Gilles Seidel.
And I was delighted to meet the Waterworld Mermaids, a lovely group of romance writers who keep a fun collective blog about the writing life. (And I’m not saying that just because I won a very cool gift basket in their charity raffle.) Check out their blog!
All in all it was an amazing weekend. I learned about the craft, made friends with some talented writers, and drank just a little too much. I left feeling refreshed and inspired. And I didn’t even have to fend off Fabio once.