Beyond Heaving Bosoms and Throbbing Members

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 PalmerChristine 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.

Pamela Palmer, Christine Trent, me, Robyn Carr


I also learned that Nora Roberts is a bit of a baby whisperer.  Amanda Brice’s little boy fell in love…

Nora Roberts, baby whisperer


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.”

Tim Bentler-Jungr and Kathleen Gilles Seidel


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.

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  1. It was a fabulous weekend like always and the newcomers make it just bit shinier!

  2. She is a baby whisperer, isn’t she? :)

    Fun recap of a very fun weekend! It was great to meet you and hope to see you again soon.

  3. Yes, it’s true, I kept Fabio locked in my room for the whole retreat. He’s promised not to press charges. :) It was great to hang out with you at retreat!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Avery, is that where Fabio was? I wondered where he’d got off to. That must explain where all the other cover models were this weekend–so nice of you all to let, rest and enjoy the room service in your rooms! Allison, it was a wonderful weekend and I’m so glad to have met you!

  5. Oh- so glad you came! Thank you for the Waterworld Mermaid shout out!

  6. A great recap — love the photos!
    It *was* fun, wasn’t it?
    This year was so very special…and meeting you was part of that!

  7. I wish I could have been there! Looks like a great time. I’ve been a WRW member for years and still haven’t gone to any of the retreats. Maybe next year


  1. […] novelist and former prosecutor Allison Leotta went to the Washington Romance Writers retreat last weekend. I also considered going, not because I like that genre but because I figured I might […]

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