by Kiersten Hallie Krum
Okay, the causing trouble aspect might be a wee bit subjective, but Madeline Iva came home from the Washington Romance Writers Blogger and Reader Luncheon with a bag of (very cool) skull jewelry, so really, anything goes.
But you, lovely Lady Smutters, already knew that.
Last week, I posted about how our Lady Smut bloggers were out and about in the real world. This past weekend, I was bouncing around the New Jersey Romance Writers annual Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. Two days talking about books and publishing and romance. Oh my!
Lady Smut blogger Elizabeth Shore was also there, but she’s wily and slick, so though we caught glimpses of one another and even one side-arm hug, unfortunately there’s no evidence (i.e. a photo) of us in the same place. Bestselling authors HelenKay Dimon, Tessa Dare, and Terri Brisbin graced us with their publishing and writing experience and wisdom. I unfortunately missed Tessa Dare’s special presentation (in my defense, it was very early in the morning), but greatly enjoyed both HelenKay and Terri’s wit and insight.
Conference keynote speaker, HelenKay Dimon, spoke passionately about why reading matters, why it is so important. We don’t read only to escape or for stress relief or to indulge in fantasy. We read to survive. To escape bullying. To escape family illness or tragedy. To believe and feel better and to figure out how to defeat the monsters in our lives. In books, the bad guys are defeated, and that gives us hope that the bad guys in life can be defeated too.
“I have never felt guilty for reading a book,” HelenKay said. “Love is empowering. It has the ability to take us to a different place, to make us feel great.” In romance novels, she said, women are the heroines of their own stories (sound familiar?). To the hero, no matter how plain or regular or normal or whatever, to the hero, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. “In romances, there are women who are comfortable in their sexuality and men who celebrate it. Romance is about hope that you can overcome, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made or how flawed your past is, that someone will love you for you. When someone writes that romance doesn’t matter, my answer is ‘kiss my ass!’.”
Preach it, HelenKay.
Luncheon speaker, Terri Brisbin, spoke about the rules of writing–write what you know, make sure hero and heroine meet within first 10 pages, write the breakout book, blah blah blah. According to Terri, none of them really matter. Terri counseled that only three rules were important: If you want to be a writer, you have to write, and you have to find the time in your life to do it whatever your challenges. Tied in with that advice is that you have to read, you have to keep reading to refresh the well that hydrates your writing. She also advises to gather good people around you and hold on to them. “Trying to be a creative person in a business world is hell, unless you have good people around you,” she said. “Sometimes, they’re right there with you and you don’t even know it.” Finally, as a dental hygienist, Terri emphasized the only one true thing in life that everyone must do: “brush and floss two times a day.”
On Sunday, after the conference, we had the inaugural NJRW Hearts & Sparks Reader and Blogger Brunch. Here writers mixed and mingles with readers and bloggers with a delicious full brunch. First-line bingo sheets were employed as a fun, interactive ice-breaker where guests had to find out which first line on the bingo sheet came from what author’s book. Given my book WILD ON THE ROCKS starts with the line “Check the stalls.” I got a lot of people wondering just what kind of stall was being employed–and exactly what they were doing in the stall! Naturally, I told them to read the book and find out! Okay, I gave in and told ’em because I hate waiting. But still!
It was so wonderful to meet so many enthusiastic readers and bloggers–people who love passionately love romance novels. As bestselling historical romance novelist Tessa Dare noted, we sit behind our computers and laptops all day, in our PJs or our yoga pants or whatever (I’m writing this wearing a new nightie, FTR. TMI? Oh well.) and we so rarely get to meet in person the people for whom we’re writing (after ourselves, naturally). And that’s you, lovely readers and Lady Smutters, and that’s why we have our MEET page here on Lady Smut, so that you can come on out and meet us and, even better, we can meet *you*.
Plus, ya know, free stuff.
That’s right! I have goodies for you–free, author signed books, including the super sexy MINE by HelenKay Dimon, one of three Scottish medieval adventures from Terri Brisbin, and Tessa Dare’s new historical regency romance A WEEK TO BE WICKED. Subscribe to our Lady Smut newsletter and/or click the FOLLOW button, and then leave us a shot of the confirmation in the comments along with your choice of the above pictured books. I’ll do a random selection and post the winners on next Monday’s post.
Follow Lady Smut. We’ll give you lots of reasons to keep reading to survive.
Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocks, is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.