As I sit here in my quiet living room reflecting on the past several days and fighting a bad cold, I am struggling with a way to encapsulate my incredible experience at Romancing The Capital 2016, a romance readers/writers conference organized by writer Eve Langlais.
Never have I felt more like a rock star. People – readers and other writers – actually recognized me and knew who I was. And that was even before I had picked up my name tag at the registration desk.
I consider myself to be a very small fish in a very big pond, since I write in a very niche market – or what I like to call a niche-niche market. Since my most recognized books are graphic gay BDSM menage they appeal only to a certain subset of readers. So I never expect to be lauded and/or recognized in a large group of mainstream romance authors.
Boy was I wrong! Even though I was surrounded by New York Times best selling authors, I never felt like I was playing second fiddle to anyone. Readers and writers both seemed to respect the fact that I write erotic romance, no matter what the niche market, and that I was worthy of their time and conversation as a much newer face in the business than many of them.
This feeling of inclusion and validation for something that has been a questionable occupation of mine with certain family members and friend groups was invaluable to my continuation in this field. Even though I don’t, and probably never will, have the sales that I hoped for when I embarked on this journey (due to being in such a niche-niche market and also the general decline in the industry due to Amazon’s handling of ebooks), the fact that I can hold my head up in a group of my peers and know that I’m respected for what I do is something I won’t forget.
This year, as opposed to the last, I stayed at the hotel for two nights which gave me the freedom to socialize and include myself much more in the ongoing events. I met so many amazing and interesting people, let go of my inherited British reserve enough to participate in some silly and fun events, and hung out with my good buddy Nathan who never fails to encourage and inspire me. I was even able to vanquish my phobia of riding elevators by myself!
The very first evening I won a donated gift basket from Sharon Watson-Azmier and her husband Larry, that was full of booze and booze related items which delighted both me and my husband. I won a book by Coreene Callahan at her event. On Saturday morning I won a book and some other small items from Kadian Tracey, and later on I won another book from Donna McDonald at an event that she sponsored. I also got a free sex toy from Angela S. Stone for asking a question during her wonderful event “The Science Behind the Sex.” and a free copy of Wings – Subversive Gay Angel Erotica from Nathan Burgoine (Smith).
The book signing event was wonderful and crowded as usual. I never know if I’m going to sell anything and I ended up with only two books left! Opal Carew, a best selling author and fellow Ottawa resident, came over to say hi and ask how things were going for me. She gave me a little gift pack with 3 bookmarks, a pen and a handful of chocolates, which I just discovered in the bottom of my bag and quite enjoyed – all the other goodies having been eaten on the weekend by me or the kids.
There was debate as to whether Eve Langlais would be up for organizing an RTC 2017 as it is alot for one woman to handle (lol). But it looks like it is likely to happen with some help from some big name authors to take some of the stress off her hands. I couldn’t be more pleased. As an Ottawa resident and writer who can’t afford to get to some of the bigger conventions, such a great one in my own backyard would be a shame to lose.