I picked up my first Harlequin Romance when I was 12, and I decided right then and there that I was going to be a romance writer when I grew up. Oddly enough, that actually happened, and I even write those romance novels for Harlequin. The best part of being a romance writer is getting to be a romance writer. It’s really fun when you see a book in the store and your name is on it. It’s lovely when people read your books and tell you that they like them and sometimes even that your books meant something to them or helped them in some way. It’s cool just telling people you’re a romance writer because you get all kinds of interesting reactions. I’ve also made a lot of wonderful friends who are romance writers. Each summer, the writers’ organization, Romance Writers of America, throws a huge conference (in a different city every year), and all the writers get together and sit in the hotel bars all day talking and drinking. I mean, we go to workshops and study our craft. Every year during the conference, Harlequin throws the best party ever for its authors. They hold the parties in neat places, like the Starlight Ballroom at the top of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City or the Women’s Museum in Dallas. It was at an aquarium one year (what city was that?). Another time in Dallas they rented out Nieman Marcus. In Reno, it was in a casino. Wine and champagne flow along with chocolate fountains. And there’s always a band and lots of dancing. Lots of women dancing with women because, let me tell you, there are very few men at Harlequin parties. All the Harlequin authors dress up, eat some chocolate, drink some (a lot of) wine, and dance till midnight.
This romance writer gig, it is such a tough job.
I started out in romance as a fan, and I’m still a fan, so another great thing about being a romance writer is getting to see all the big-name famous romance writers at the conferences. Not that I’m a stalker or anything. OKAY, I AM.
I didn’t get to go to the RWA conference this past summer. (I was busy being a farmer.) I was going through some old pictures yesterday and feeling sad about missing all the fun last year–and I’m not sure I can go this year, either. So, here is a trip down memory lane in my life as a stalker, I mean, fangirl.
Here is Nora Roberts (The! Nora! Roberts!) dancing at the Harlequin party in Dallas in 2007. (Between the lady in the white and the lady in the black–see the woman with the short red hair and you can see a bit of her green dress? That’s Nora.)
If you don’t know who The Nora is– Was your trip from your faraway home planet nice? I know not everyone who visits here is a romance reader, though, so I’ll be gentle. Nora Roberts is…a publishing phenom. To say the least. A superstar. She’s had, like, 150 books on the NYT Bestsellers list. She’s also a real person. Stalking her is the highlight of every RWA conference for me. I DID NOT SAY THAT.
Here, Nora’s getting her groove on at the Harlequin party in Atlanta in 2006. (Nora is pictured center, short red hair in the black dress.)
Nora, kicking up her heels at the Harlequin party in Reno in 2005. (Nora, center, in the dark green pantsuit. Forgive the deterioration in my photography the further back in time we go….) Do you notice a pattern here? I call this series my “Nora Dancing at the Harlequin Party” collection. I am always so close to Nora when I take these pictures because me and Nora, we are TIGHT. Like best friends.
And then, the farthest back I could find on my computer because this was when I started using a digital camera, here is my very favorite “Nora Dancing at the Harlequin Party” photo EVER. This photo is from 2004.
Do you see that girl?!
That girl DANCING WITH NORA?!
That’s my little princess! (Pictured here in the hotel before the party. She was eight years old.)
Here is Nora with Morgan and my mom.
I told you we were tight. Nora is like practically part of my family.
Of course, I have other Nora! photo collections.
Nora sitting with friends at a hotel bar during the conference. (See way back there in the back of the photo, the table of women? Nora is the one seated on the left.)
This one is from the “Nora Autographs Books” collection, again from an RWA conference.
Here I am, autographing books at an RWA conference.
Me, sitting at a table with friends at a hotel bar at an RWA conference.
(Kacey, middle, and Michelle, right. Want to visit more of my romance writer friends? Check out Jill. And Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I don’t actually know Susan! Elizabeth! Phillips! but I know that she reads my blog. SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS READS MY BLOG. She even commented one time. I can never wash my comments again!)
Me, dancing at the Harlequin party.
See how it is? Me and Nora, we are almost like twins! I have so much in common with Nora, it is FREAKING ME OUT!! And I know if Nora read my blog, it would be FREAKING HER OUT, too. (Maybe for an entirely different reason…..)
This is Nora’s limo. It’s from the “Nora Driving Away” collection.
Do the things I have in common with Nora never end? I have a car, too!
Oh never mind……
I bet Nora really missed me at the conference last year.
Well, that was my fun. Now for yours! I wish I could take you all to a Harlequin party with me, but I can’t. I can, however, be sure you know about this–celebrating 60 years of pure! reading! pleasure! Harlequin is thanking readers by giving every woman in America a free book. In fact, they’re giving away 16 free books that you can download from their website. There’s plenty for everyone, so get your own then share the fun with your friends, family, and neighbors. Visit Harlequin here to get your free books!
We free stuff!