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First romance reader convention in Denver

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

A masquerade ball, a $2,500 Trivia challenge, two award banquets, a costume contest, mystic tarot events, panel discussions, games with romance authors, discussions about authors’ books, careers and the romance genre in general, and vendors selling romantic accessories: This is Denver’s romance convention.

“There has never been a large scale event like this in the U.S.,” said organizer Michele Chambers. “There’s a large annual conference for romance writers, but it’s geared toward the professional end. There’s been nothing that’s just fun for the fans, and there are so many of us who read romances. We wanted to throw a giant, fun getaway weekend for all of us hopeless romantics.” 

As of Wednesday, 300 people -many from out of state – had pre-registered, and event promoter Dana Cain expects 500-800 total attendees.

“This is a ground-breaking event that is getting a ton of attention from the romance community, nationally,” Cain said. “Since many of the authors attending are on the New York Times bestseller list, we know that it’s a very popular genre – especially with the recent influx of paranormal and horror romance fans, inspired by the success of the ‘Twilight’ series. We think the interest level in Denver should be higher than in most areas of the country, based on our literacy rate and our demographics.”

Paranormal romance writer Nalini Singh (“Bonds of Justice” and “Angel’s Kiss”) will be one of the more than 80 authors attending the convention. Her professional work has ranged from being an attorney to working in a candy factory, which she calls “grist for the writer’s mill.”

She has watched paranormal romance change with the times by incorporating strong women protagonists and expanding beyond the usual vampire draw, into shapeshifters, angels, psychics and more.

“It allows us as writers to break or question rules of behavior that you might not be able to in a contemporary novel – in a paranormal, so long as you follow the rules of the world itself, it’s a very open canvas,” Singh said. “I love creating worlds, love having continuing story arcs, love that I get to see the lives and stories of my characters develop from book to book as the series continues.”

She also enjoys connecting with readers and writers in the genre:

“I just want to say to any readers who are attending the conference that I would love to talk with them, so if they see me around at the conference, they are more than welcome to stop me for a chat.”

Contemporary romance author Carly Phillips (“Kiss Me If You Can” and “Love Me If You Dare,” coming this summer) is thrilled with the fact that there’s an entire section in bookstores devoted to happy endings. The genre allows her to write happy endings, while getting a little hotter, or graphic, than traditional romances.

“Contemporary romance keeps readers up to date with social, sexual, emotional realities while still maintaining the monogamous concept of one couple truly meant for each other once they overcome all obstacles,” Phillips said.

She, too, looks forward to interacting with readers.

“I can’t wait to talk about characters, topics, what readers like to see in the books they love, what they don’t like and why,” she said. “I’m just looking forward to a weekend filled with people who love romance the way I do.”

 


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