Last weekend I attended Romancing the Capital 2017 (RTC) a romance author/reader event organized by Eve Langlais which takes place in Ottawa, Ontario. This is the third year for the conference, and my second year attending. The conference is a small one compared to some others, from what I understand (this is the only one I’ve attended personally), but it gives readers the opportunity to really mingle with the authors in attendance and get to know them a little better.
I have become more open about the fact that I read romance novels (of all kinds) in recent years, but a lot of people still look down on romance as a genre, so I’m always guarded and prepared to have to defend my choice. Imagine my excitement then, when I found out last year that there was a conference right here in Ottawa, dedicated to romance authors and readers! I have always wanted to attend an event like this, so I jumped at the chance. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to be around a group of people who love romance, and reading romance, and talking about romance, without having to worry about being judged.
The conference officially starts on Thursday, and runs until Saturday night. Thursday afternoon there are a few seminars for aspiring authors, and on Thursday night at 7:00 PM the fun starts for the readers with a few events such as author readings, and karaoke. I attended alone last year, but this year I talked my friend Dianne into attending with me (to be honest, it didn’t take much arm twisting), and since I live in Ottawa and most of the fun doesn’t really begin until Friday, we didn’t attend the events on Thursday night.
We arrived at the hotel bright and early on Friday morning, and after registering and picking up our registration bags, we headed downstairs to Graffiti’s Italian Eatery for breakfast. I had a delicious omelet, and Dianne had pancakes with the biggest blueberries I have ever seen! Sadly, I wasn’t even thinking to take a picture at the time, so you’ll just have to trust me on that!
Each hour there were 4 topics to choose from, some topics included games or activities, and others were panels of authors where the hour was mostly spent in a question and answer period.
At 9 AM Dianne and I headed upstairs to the first panel of the day, Romance That Goes Back in Time, with authors Barbara Devlin, Sharon Page, Deborah Cooke (as Claire Delacroix), and Anna Markland. I am a big historical romance fan, and a couple of the authors are new to me, I can’t wait to check out their books!
Next up we attended a panel called Bad Boy Athletes & Bikers with Opal Carew, Sarah Castille, Desiree Holt, and Sara Hubbard. Dianne has a motorcycle, so she was interested in this panel. It was interesting hearing the authors talk about how some of their characters were inspired by real people.
For our last session before lunch, we decided to check out Romance to Make You Sweat with Ainsley Booth, Sarah Castille, Cathryn Fox, Anne Lange, and Opal Carew. All of these authors write some form of erotic romance, and it was very interesting to hear how their families viewed their writing careers.
After lunch, the first seminar we attended was Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy with Cat Johnson, Elle James, Desiree Holt, and Heather Long. As you can guess, the focus here was on cowboys in romance, and why they are so popular among readers.
Next up we went to Wanna Pet my Dragon? with Correen Callahan, Deb Cooke, Eve Langlais, and Milly Taiden. All of these authors write shifter romance, featuring shape-shifting dragons in some of their stories. They were happy to answer questions about some of their upcoming stories, and one of the readers presented each of them with a lovely dragon wing shawl which she had crocheted.
Our second last seminar of the day was Deb Cooke’s Knights vs Dragons where we got to separate into teams and attempt to put some puzzles, based on her book covers, together. There were mini contests where you won prizes for completing a phrase, or a person’s face, or had a particular number of pieces completed in a corner…it was a lot of fun! I won 4 prizes, including one of her fabulous puzzles. I have to admit, I really, really wanted one last year, they are so beautiful, so I was happy that I got to take one home! I credit the awesome people on my team, because they were the ones who nominated me as the winner at our table.
Our final seminar for Friday was Highway to Hell with Eve Langlais, and Darynda Jones. During this session, Darynda and Eve talked about the differences in their stories featuring the underworld, and the characters there, and gave us a few ideas about what to expect in some of their upcoming stories.
After the final session for the day, we had about an hour and a half before dinner, where the theme was Heroes vs. Villains. Unfortunately, we couldn’t think of any good costumes, so Dianne and I didn’t dress up for either of the dinner events, but we did enjoy seeing all the other participants. We even had our pictures taken with Wonder Woman (aka author Susan Stoker)!
After dinner, there was dancing in the main room, and other activities in the smaller (and quieter) dinner room. I had to make a trip home to take care of my dog, and after a long day, Dianne decided to retire to prepare for Saturday.
Since this post is getting pretty long, I’ll post our second day at RTC sometime this week! I hope you enjoyed hearing about it!