I’m a small fish in an ever-more-crowded pond. Self-publishing and the growing acceptance of erotica means more authors, more choices for readers and the greater need to market oneself, so I love attending my publisher’s annual convention where I can network with other authors, meet readers and—best of all, have a ton of fun!
2013 was Ellora’s Cave’s fifth Romanticon, held at the McKinley Grand in Canton, Ohio. Some attendees arrive on Wednesday to get settled, but Thursday night’s Meet ‘n Greet is where the convention really kicks off. I’d post pictures, but I carry travel stress in my stomach and couldn’t make it downstairs without looking like Quasimodo. Boo!
Last year as well as this year, attendees grab a drink, sing some karaoke or dance, and catch up with old friends as well as make new ones. The hunky Cavemen are also in attendance, so they provide a ton of incentive. ;D
Friday morning featured Zumba with 2012’s Alpha Caveman Nick as well as belly dancers from Cleveland Exotic Dance. Not far away is swag alley where readers and authors can grab all kinds of fun promo items. Between that and the afternoon’s panels on both Friday and Saturday was the Caveman Photo Shoot where authors and readers alike could choose two sexy cavemen for a photo like what you see on the cover of a romance novel. Being a tall gal, I grabbed Caveman DeAngelo and Axl.
Not my best pose, but we all know it’s not me at whom you’re staring. ;D
Friday afternoon was full of really fun panels. I attended a very informative and hilarious one on advanced sex ed: how to do oral right on both guys and gals. Everyone got a banana. ;D Another panel dared those in attendance to share just how naughty they are with a stand-up/sit-down game of “I Have Never”. Who was naughtiest? Only those at the panel will ever know and we’re not telling!
Back to the banana, though. I was legit hungry and bananas are delish, so I ate it between panels. You guys, the hotel staff is not only excited for our con every year but is also amazingly helpful because when I went into the hall to find a trash can for the banana peel, a hotel staffer in a fancy suit just walked by and said, “I’ll take that for you.”
Why thank you, good sir!
Friday night’s big theme party was all about Bollywood! A lot of people wore gorgeous saris and the ballroom’s decorations blew me away! The MCs for the evening were Caveman Rodney and super-fab drag queen Diamond. They were hilarious and it was all off-the-cuff! The Cavemen also performed a super sexy dance routine choreographed by Caveman Nick, who I hear will do the same at next year’s convention. Damn can that man dance!
Oh, and I won one of the hookahs that doubled as the centerpieces on all the tables. Third year at Romanticon and my first time winning a raffle! I was PUMPED! Though I’ve tried using a hookah before, I probably won’t use this one much—remember everyone, smoking is unhealthy!—but I’m so glad to have it. My luck would continue, much to my happy surprise, but more on that later!
After some wine and a ton of dancing, I hit the hay. Saturday morning was another sesh of Zumba. Those who prefer yoga also got some instruction. I caught up with a few fellow authors from last year and the time just disappeared, so I didn’t make it to the panels in the afternoon, but I hear the BDSM bingo panel headed by EC’s most popular BDSM authors was packed and incredibly fun.
Saturday night’s party theme was Old Hollywood. I think my favorite was author Eve Vaughn dressed up as Joan Crawford from Mommy Dearest, but WOW… We all clean up GOOD, you guys. Everyone looked amazing. The Cavemen performed for us again, authors received awards and everyone voted for this year’s Alpha Caveman. The winner was mega-handsome Caveman De Angelo~ Yum!
Sunday started off a little more relaxed because authors were preparing for the four-hour SEXporium book fair, which is always free and open to the public. We got encore performances from the Cavemen, some belly dancing and pole-dancing from Cleveland Exotic Dance and more raffle prizes, not to mention over eighty EC authors! I had lots of fun and it was great to meet new readers!
However, I think it’s safe to say everyone’s favorite night at Romanticon is Sunday night bingo. The big parties have been had. All the panels are done. The book fair is over and everyone’s padded their TBR list. Everyone just shows up in their PJs, has some pizza and plays a little bingo. Of course, it really doesn’t hurt that when you win, a caveman walks your prize basket to you and sticks around for a little up-close attention. I sat at a table where the three people to my left all won!
Everyone also had raffle tickets and one of the last prize baskets given out contained amaze-balls swag from authors Cait Miller and Tara Nina. MC Caveman Rodney called out my ticket number and I was kind of stunned for a second. The one who brought over the basket was Caveman Axl (aka Austin), who’s on the cover of my latest release, Escape With Me! Let’s just say the stunned feeling stuck with me for a while. Thanks so much to author Sabrina York for nabbing this shot!
After that, the convention was over but everyone was already talking about coming again next year. For me, packing my bags was quite the adventure—a hookah, a raffle prize from author Cheryl Dragon and another from bingo, not to mention several bottles of wine and beer. I managed it, though and nothing was broken when I unpacked at home!
Romanticon just gets better every year. Hoping I can make the next one! You shouldn’t miss it either!