Rachel’s RomCon romp

Surprise! Not a Choc Lit author today, but rather someone from the editing team. I’m Rachel {waves enthusiastically} and last month I spent a fabulous weekend at RomCon – a Romance Readers’ Convention – and have some pictures that are begging to be shared.

I’m in the black dress. Poor Scott Nova is buried with us on his lap!

I’m in the black dress. Poor Scott Nova is buried with us on his lap!

RomCon is held annually (this was its third year) in Denver, Colorado, USA, which happens to be where I lived for five years before moving to England three years back. (Checking on the house hubby and I still own was a bonus feature of the trip, but as far as hubby is concerned, RomCon was the ‘since I’ll be there anyway…’) This was my first year attending and I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of sheer fun and silliness. It was two and a half days of activities, games and parties centred around all the things there is to love about romance novels, and getting to know some lovely authors.

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Legendary Hero contestants left to right: Billy Freda, Julian Christian (placed 3rd), Brooks Johnson, Benny Bekro, Len Gunn (placed 2nd), and (front) Scott Nova (placed 1st). Now if only they were all looking at the right camera!

I’ll be honest and say that the highlight of the convention was the hot (well they were often shirtless, so one can only assume) male cover models. They spent the entire weekend (or at least until LATE each night) competing for the title of Legendary Hero, which was put to the vote by two hundred and fifty women of all ages at the end of the convention. They participated in authors’ games, submitted to being live props, ate meals with us, took pictures with us, and were all-around wonderful men. Brooks Johnson and Scott Nova were particularly sweet!

My favourite event from Friday was the Titanic Tea party, organised by author Deanne Gist. The detail and planning were incredible! Four courses, all from a menu that would have been served on board the ship; lessons in how to flirt with fans; instruction on formal tea etiquette (remember, this was a bunch of Americans – we don’t know these things!); and Titanic-themed games, all hosted by authors in costume who rotated throughout the dinging room, giving their books as prizes.

male models CJ Hollenbach and Billy Freda as Titanic crew

male models CJ Hollenbach and Billy Freda as Titanic crew

And Choc Lit was represented at the convention! It was great to garner some American attention.

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Friday evening I finally got to meet in-person one of my favourite American authors, Pamela Clare, at an off-site dinner get-together, as well as Jenn LeBlanc, who is an author as well as the owner of Illustrated Romance, a romance-cover photography studio.

left pic: Rachel and Pamela Clare; right pic: Jenn LeBlanc, Rachel and Derek Hutchins

left pic: Pamela Clare; right pic: Jenn LeBlanc and one of her model’s, Derek Hutchins, star of her illustrated romance novel (yes, pictures THROUGHOUT the book!) Romancing the Rake

After dinner I went back to the conference for the black-tie Monte Carlo night, complete with a jazz singer and about fifteen casino-style gaming tables. We couldn’t gamble with real money, but dancing with the hunky models ratcheted up the thrill factor. And at the end of the night, the lady who’d won the most ‘money’ won a prize – a basket of Choc Lit paperbacks!

Brooks Johnson and Scott Nova, looking good in kilts. I was hoping THEY were my prize ...

Brooks Johnson and Scott Nova, looking good in kilts. I was hoping THEY were my prize ...

author Melissa Mayhew and my hamper of goodies

author Melissa Mayhew and my hamper of goodies

Saturday’s highlight, for me, was winning the Taste of the Highlands event, hosted by author Melissa Mayhew, which was a blind taste-test plus quiz of various Scottish products. I felt a bit like a sneak since I live hours away from Scotland, rather than a third-of-the-globe away like everyone else there, but … hey-ho, I’m still ‘just an American’, right? Melissa read out clues such as ‘you’d put this on salad’ (Salad Cream) and ‘name five items on a Full Scottish Breakfast plate’. I scored 18/25. :-) My hamper was full of all seven of Melissa’s paperbacks and loads of Scottish goodies, like a mug, tea towel, magnet, and mini Scotchs (put to good use at the after-party Saturday night!). But I think my favourite prize was the photo op with Brooks and Scott!

Saturday night wrapped up with the Chocolate Mangasm event: a buffet of chocolatey treats plus sexy men participating in hen-night (or as us Americans call it, bachelorette) style games. The details and pics might be a little too, um, exciting for the blog, so just know that it was a GOOD TIME.

The stories and pictures could go on, but I won’t. Despite some glitches in the overall organization of the convention (not everything ran smoothly or as promised) I definitely discovered authors I hadn’t read or heard of before, so goal accomplished! At the end of the weekend my swag (promotional freebies) included nineteen paperbacks, a few ebooks, countless bookmarks and pens, and priceless memories.

Choc Lit is headed to the 30th annual RT convention in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, from 1-5 May, which I’ve been told is like RomCon on crack. BRING IT ON!

For more pics from RomCon you can see my whole album here.