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Celebrate Readers

That is really what the Celebrate Romance conference should be called, because Wow! what a great group of readers. This was my first CR, (and please, don’t let it be the last!!) and I had so much fun. I knew the trip was going to be great when on the train going down to Portland, the movie showing was The Philadelphia Story–that wonderful, Academy Award winning movie with the indomitable Kathrine Hepburn, the gorgeous and sophisticated Cary Grant and the always amazing Jimmy Stewart. A great romantic comedy to start off a weekend of romance and laughter.

Now I had an odd encounter when I first got to the Benson Hotel, which I will describe later, but after shaking that off, I went downstairs for dinner and found myself seated with fellow Avon authors Victoria Alexander and Linda Needham.

Victoria has such a dry, witty sense of humor and Linda is always just the same–funny, talented and amazing. We ended sitting at the back table most of the conference. Our group turned out to the rabble rousers of the weekend. I don’t know how I always end up in those sorts of groups. Hmmm. Odd, wouldn’t you say? Of course, the one other reason to adore Victoria is that we walked over to the dessert table and looked at each other and said, “No chocolate!” We were perplexed. A dessert buffet for 50+ women and no chocolate?  It had to be a mistake. Then we discovered why. And why we sat in the back. Because it a little bit later, these two men arrived:

What are they doing? Pouring out samples of chocolate. As a surprise, Leanne had arranged for the owners of Cacao to come and give us all lessons in tasting chocolate. Now I know what you are thinking, Elizabeth doesn’t need any help, let alone a lesson in eating chocolate. Quite the opposite. They walked us through the history of chocolate, how it is made and the Renaissance that is happening in chocolate. Ah, to live in a time of chocolate. After sampling two trays of various chocolates, I returned to my room in a happy sort of buzz.

I woke up to this happy view out out my window, a lovely sunrise, and I wrote for an hour or so before joining the festivities downstairs.Then I was a bad girl, (well, I was sitting at the bad girl table) and snuck out to go see my good friend, Melissa McClone. She blogged about our catch up, and I can’t say it any better. Of course, our little catch up ended up being two hours long and I nearly missed lunch. But was there in time to talk about Sweet v. Sexy romances and what readers think of both, then it was off to the booksigning at the Beaverton Borders, with the amazing Marcy Dodge at the helm.

People arrived slowly, filling the seats. Which was good, because there were so many authors, it was entirely chaotic at first and then Marcy, like a drill sergeant got us all lined up, books in order and we were off with a Q&A session and then the signing. My good friend, Terri Patrick, or as I like to call her, Aunt Mary. It’s a long, old story, but to me, Terri will always be “Aunt Mary” with the bright smile. I am always thrilled to run into her when I get down to Portland.

As with all big booksignings, you get to meet authors you’ve never met before, and for me, I got to know Lacy Danes. She’s a lovely person, fun to sit next to and as chance would have it, we both had the same encounter at the Benson. You see as it turned out, our rooms were side by side in the Benson Hotel, and we both had the same feeling in the hallway and around our rooms that something, or shall we say, someone, was sort of . . . well, haunting the place. And I don’t really remember how we discovered this, but all of a sudden we were describing the very same encounter. So the next day, we joked around about the other, ahem, guest on our floor:

Then like all good conferences, it was time to leave. And I came home with a raffle prize:

Said goodbye to new and old friends:

And headed home. And the text message that came my way as I hopped a cab to the train station, from my loving family?

Honey, thawing grnd turkey. What do you want to make us for dinner?

4 comments to “Celebrate Readers”

  1. Sarah Tormey
    March 2nd, 2009 at 9:50 am · Link

    What a fun conference! I’v heard great things from fellow NYC authors about Celebrate Romance and hope to attend sometime in the future. But right now, I must run off and find some chocolate, my mouth started watering while reading about the tasting, what fun!

  2. Melissa Mc
    March 2nd, 2009 at 12:20 pm · Link

    Sounds like a great time! And a chocolate tasting?? That sounds so cool.

    Thanks again for playing hooky for a couple of hours. Fun times, for sure. I’m so relieved to hear you made it to lunch albeit late! I was worried.

    And I am so, so very happy about the phone call from Matthew! Hearing about that totally made my night. Thanks 🙂

  3. therese
    March 4th, 2009 at 7:58 pm · Link

    It’s always great to see you too! Now I must practice in front of a mirror, how to hold my head, when being photographed by someone sitting down!
    I’m sorry I missed this conference – I hope it’s not the last either. I intend to attend one someday soon.

  4. Keira Soleore
    March 6th, 2009 at 1:08 pm · Link

    (laughing) Way to bring you down to earth with a thud! We love our families, honestly, we do.


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