The biggest thing I came away with, however, was attitude. When you say "romance" I know what people think: dumpy middle aged women who console themselves with chaste and unrealistic fantasies. The truth is romance writers and readers, by and large, seem to be really happy people with optimistic attitudes. They believe in happy endings because they're living them, or have every expectation that they will make it happen. So many of the writers kept saying how they based their heroes/heroines on some aspect of their partners. Better yet, they talked about how supportive their relationships were, even if they didn't really understand the appeal of, say, sex with vampires or were-snakes (so forget about "chaste")!
Spending most of my time at academic or spec fic gatherings, it was a real delight to be surrounded by so much bubbly positivity. In the last couple of years I have come to realise how much your outlook affects the shape of your life. I'm not talking about a blithe ignorance of facts; I'm talking about choosing to be happy and to be completely alive now. Now: not lost in the regrets of the past, not hiding in the hopes for the future, but engaging fully and alertly with NOW. Terrible things happen, but you become resilient. You look for the opportunities. Most of all, you don't get mired in the endless cycle of "why me?" victimhood. My default position now is "I can cope. I have skills. I have resources. I have friends and people who love me. I will make the most of this."
Susan Hanniford Crowley
Stella Price in steampunk mode
Jackie Frank as Elizabeth Bennett
Leanna Renee Hieber explains the language of the Regency fan
The general signing begins: soon packed with eager readers with ARMLOADS of books! This is in addition to the loads of freebies, raffles and gift baskets that folks got.
A bit of debate about what this item was for...
Blinded by sparkliness!