Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Romantic Times Convention, Kansas City, 2013 by Sherri Shackelford

The first week in May I had the opportunity to attend the Romantic Times convention in Kansas City, MO. There are a couple of big conferences for romance writers, including the Romance Writers of America convention and the Christian Fiction Writers convention. Like children, each event has its own personality.

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. 


  1. Sherri, I had the opportunity to attend RT this year, but only for the Awards presentation. I certainly will try to attend more in the future. It looks like you gals had a ball.

  2. It was my first time attending. It was definitely an experience!

  3. Hi Sherri! I've always wondered what RT was like. Thanks for the great description. It sounds like a lot of fun. BTW, I love the shoe photo!!! A gal can never have too many shoes.

  4. It's true Christine, you can never have too many shoes :)

  5. I had a great time but somehow missed the Harlequin soirée. Hmm was probably taking a nap. Had fun with you at lunch and crashing other events!!

  6. We missed you, Lenora. The soiree was fun. Kimberley Lang put it together and she did a great job. (Kim was the one wearing a wedding veil everywhere.)

    She organized games and I think the readers had a great time. I know I did! But then, I pretty much have a good time no matter what :)

  7. Sounds like a fun conference! (Loved Cheryl St. John's pink hair, LOL).
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

  8. P.S. Meant to also say CONGRATS on your books, Sherri! ~ PJ :)

  9. Cheryl is a fabulous travel buddy, that's for certain :) And thanks for the congratulations...It's nice having another book on the way!


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