Saturday, June 8, 2013

Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas (August 2013) & the RONE!

I love conferences, conventions, workshops, and expos. I especially appreciate the organization that goes into planning and pulling off an event with so much creativity and attention it looks as if it fell together flawlessly. 

As a librarian I loved library conferences: books, new technology, books, lectures and meeting new and old friends. Did I mention books? As a library consultant I loved setting up booths, standing for 3-5 days (well, not that so much), demoing the new technology, meeting new and old friends and clients, competitors’ parties, entertaining, and swag. Library sway was always great (did you know?).

I also exhibited at law library conferences, whose parties and swag were really over the top. The books - not as much fun.

When I was involved in the world of dogs I loved the organization of dog shows that allowed over a thousand dogs to enter a myriad of classes and on the show day, all show up at the right time and place, judging takes place and like a fantastical elimination contest, and the day ends with one dog judged Best in Show. (It’s not that simple, but it still is amazing.)

Since I started writing, I’ve never attended a big romance writers’ conference. I’d heard about the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas for authors and readers of romance (August 7-11, 2013) and considered it was close enough for me to drive, but dithered. When Released finalled in the RONE (Reward Of Novel Excellence) contest hosted by  the classy InD'tale Magazine, I was told winners would be announced at the RNC. I checked the RNC website and was impressed with the organization and raw creativity Jimmy Thomas put into this first ever event.

It seems to have all the elements of a romance writers’ conference. Nationally knows speakers, parties for networking, book fair, raffle, prizes, swag bags and swag tables. (The RONE contest itself was masterfully planned and executed and deserves a post to itself.)

But some aspects were not so common. Reasonable prices for the conference and lodging in the convention hotel. A very creative food package. Practical programs for writers and reader. Nationally respected speakers (Bob Mayer, Jennifer Ashley, etc.). A costume ball (with opportunity to rent costumes) A professional photographer for headshots. Romance novelist Virginia Nelson’s wedding (how romantic is that!). And movies for when you’ve talked yourself hoarse.

And oh yes, male cover models will compete for a “Mr. Casanova Competition” (how appropriate – Casanova was a librarian.) Yes Jimmy Thomas, the organizer and host is a cover model, a great businessman, a smart and generous man, and not bad-looking. And he does grace over 5,000 romance novel covers.

Brilliant promo idea - Authors may rent the cover models to have them learn and perform a scene from their book. 

And  - the awards ceremony!!!!!!!

And for you dog lovers:
I’d love to interview Mike O’Hearn (7-time Fitness Male Model of the Year and a Mr. Casanova judge) about his rescue dogs. After they were used on a photo shoot, he took them home rather than hove them returned to the pound. Awwwe….


  1. Hi Amber. My book, Loveland, is also nominated and I shall be going so hope to meet you there. I have a different take on all this, however. I swore to never go to Vegas--the thought appalls me, all that concrete and neon and a hotel of nearly 3000 rooms! This isn't my sort of thing at all Yes, it is well organised but so it should be at that size! But good luck and do get in touch if you want to touch base with me there.

    1. Yes A.D.
      Some conference cities are more fun than others. If you don't like the city (and I'd usually avoid Vegas) or have spent enough time there, remember all conferences actually take place in Hotel-land. :) See you there.

      P.S. My name was Downing for many, many years.