Monday, September 17, 2018

Romance GenreCon Wrap Up and Giveaway

September is Library Card Sign Up Month so it's the perfect time to tell you about this fun event I attended at my library recently. My local independent book store holds some of their author events at the library. I also attended Kiss Con this summer, which is hosted by Avon Books. (Read all about it here.) But I think this is the first conference that was actually organized by the library.

Romance GenreCon took place over two days and included a dozen different classes and panels. The Featured Authors were Cherry Adair, Victoria Alexander, Janna MacGregor, Cathy Maxwell, Pat Simmons, Kerrelyn Sparks, Sherry Thomas. Plus as many as thirty Participating Authors were scheduled to attend.

 I attended the Guest Author panel with (from left to right in the photo) Pat Simmons, Kerrelyn Sparks, Victoria Alexander, Janna MacGregor, Cathy Maxwell, and Sherry Thomas. I was disappointed that this discussion wasn't as well attended as the one at KissCon but there was a writing workshop happening at the same time, as well as other panels and events throughout the weekend.

I've only read one of these authors, Sparks, and was familiar with Thomas's Lady Sherlock series. But the rest of the ladies are local, which I was excited to learn. (Cathy Maxwell grew up in the area, but no longer lives here - that still counts as local, right?)

Some tidbits from the panel: 
I thought it was interesting that all of the ladies started writing Historicals, even the ones who are no longer writing them, and that Historical was the entry to the genre for all of them. (It's interesting to me partly because I've never been interested in Historicals myself.) 

Sparks says she felt like vampires were a natural progression from there because they are historical figures (i.e. very old.) I wouldn't have guessed that since her Love at Stake series is set in modern day New York. 

Thomas actually said she was inspired to start writing by a book she hated. 

I also attended the Romance State of the Union discussion which featured Simmons, Sparks, Maxwell and Tessa Layne. I really liked the mix of authors here - Layne is Indie, Simmons is Hybrid and writes Christian romances. The authors talked about how their work has changed in response to current events, like including more diversity and writing explicit consent.

More tidbits:
One thing that I thought was fascinating, in part because it hadn't occurred to me, is that Simmons, who lives in St. Louis, said she was unable to see a police officer as the hero after Ferguson and had to rewrite an entire story.

What I thought was most interesting was the idea of author as entrepreneur. Layne refers to her books as her business. She touched on some of the things that she does herself that a traditional publisher would handle, like cover art and audiobook narrators. I see so many authors talking about their narrators on Twitter that I was surprised some of the ladies here said they have no input. One said she didn't want input, which was even more surprising. 

I wish that there were an indie author panel that could have addressed all the recent controversies in the romance community, like those surrounding Kindle Unlimited. Much of that doesn't apply to traditionally published authors.

I also wish that I could have attended more of the GenreCon events - there was a tea party, and a carnival, and a film screening. I would have liked to talk to more people and meet the authors. I hope that there will be a SciFi or Fantasy GenreCon in the future.


Everyone at Romance GenreCon got one of these totes - it's huge, like one you'd take to the beach. I've got an extra one to give away, plus a stack of Historical Romances and some swag. Enter in the Rafflecopter - it's U.S. addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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