The Romance Writers of America (RWA) convention is a more stately, well-organized event. The Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) is like a big, extended family. And the Romantic Times, well, let's just say it's like a trip to Vegas. What happens at RT stays at RT.
Cheryl St. John and I attend a 70's-themed Party
This year the trip was within driving distance, so my critique group planned a getaway. I'm lucky to critique with Cheryl St.John, *lizzie Starr, Eve Savage, MK Meredith, as well as pre-pubs Deb and Donna. The seven of us shared adjoining rooms and took two cars. With all the luggage and promo materials, I drove the entire way without being able to see out of the rear-view window!
We managed to squeeze out a little room for Deb
Now for some shameless name dropping....I had lunch with the amazing Winnie Griggs and Lenora Worth as well as two editors from Harlequin-- Dianne Moggy and Glenda Howard. The editors treated us to a fabulous meal at Union Station. We laughed and talked for over two hours. On the way back to the hotel, Lenora and I even crashed a book release party. (We're such rebels!)
The orange juice and pomegranate drink complimented the book cover perfectly.
While I admit I haven't read her books, I couldn't resist a peek at EL James, the author of the 50 Shades series. Cheryl and I attended the Harlequin Soiree and had a chance to interact with some wonderfully enthusiastic fans. Harlequin provided us with lovely foam-core posters that became our mascots for the event. We took them to lunch, to parties, they visited other hotel rooms....
Lynn Raye Harris, Cheryl St.John, Me
I also did an interview with a Canadian film crew working on a documentary about Harlequin books. We'll see how that turns out! While I was a little concerned they would be looking for the more salacious angles of the romance industry, they proved to be really kind and genuinely interested in the writing process.
My husband said I traveled with more costume changes than Beyonce...
Writing can be a lonely business, and I always enjoy the opportunity to see my fellow authors in person. My critique buddies and I taught a class on forming and maintaining a successful critique group. I even managed to attend a few workshops and learn a few things...I'm always, always learning.
The final morning Cheryl and I had breakfast with fellow Harlequin authors Ann Lethbridge, Kate Bridges, and Jeannie Lin.
Deb displays the amount of luggage three women need for five days.
The trip home was bittersweet. We were exhausted and out of outfits, but incredibly sad to let go. We laughed so hard my sides hurt. I'm not kidding, I thought that was just a myth--but my sides actually hurt.
Sherri Shackelford is an award-winning author of inspirational, Christian romance.
A wife and mother of three, Sherri’s hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, “Why did I just come in here?” A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul.
Sherri is putting the final touches on three more books for her Cimarron Springs series. Winning the Widow's Heart is currently available. The Marshal's Ready-Made Family releases in February of 2014.