Yes, these things do happen -- the meeting of romance and sci-fi.  But I'm not talking about books, today.  Rather, the Conquest 43 Convention, in Kansas City, that occured over Memorial Day Weekend.

Less than a dozen romance authors amidst a sea of Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans and writers.  Indeed the end of days is coming!

I have several stories I want to share, but I'm waiting on pictures for a few.  Pictures of, oh, let's say, a noble Templar knight in the flesh?  Or Claire joining the MIB3 team for a while?  Yep... quite eventful, I will say!  I just wish I'd thought to snag a pic of me and my two new Klingon friends.  Oh well -- there's always next year.

In any case, this actually applies to industry and I learned some fascinating things.  First, in romance, we've pretty much embraced small press and independent publishing for the most part.  There's very little resistence anymore, where a year or two ago it was like trying to mesh two like ends of a magnet together.

The world of Sci-Fi, with all it's futuristic thinking, is in that spot now as far as I can see.  Small presses are making names for themselves, but still experience some resistance by the author community.  Self publishing?  Let's just say we have a way to go there yet.  With all due respect, this fantasy-based community would benefit a lot from their fiction counterparts in romance.

And interestingly enough, although paranormal romance authors were invited, and despite my background in Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Gaming design which prepared me for this, I was surprised to find that very, very few authors--some extremely well published--don't know what romance is.  Not that they can't tell a love-story, or that there aren't romantic elements in their plots... but romance as a genre fiction.  After sitting through my first panel, I decided to stop the second one and we began that hour presentation discussing what romance was, what made it romance, what made it different than anything else. Fascinating discussion, but wow... what an eye opener.  There's a huge section of fiction genre writers and readers who still think of the bodice rippers in the 90s.  (And they are all convinced we are all writing zombie romance too, by the way.  Nevermind the insistance that we want nothing to do with body parts likely falling off at inopportune times, and even more inopportune places.  Ahem.)

What happens when we go to romance conferences?

We come home with free books.  There's almost always one or two publishers who've donated books.  Hang on to that, folks, cause I'm telling you it's an evident anomaly.  Nobody handed out books.

Except me.  The Paranormal Romance author who befriended Klingons and coerced a Templar Knight out of the mix. Hee!

Yes, I did give away books, which I think made a few folks have heart palpations.  And this was one area that I simply couldn't grasp.  If someone hands me a free book, I'm going to take it home.  If it's poetry (which Im as likely to read as I am to build an airship) or horror (which I will read only if the other fiction genres die away), I'm going to take that book home, and it's going to go on my shelf. 

Not so with Sci-Fi readers.  And romance novels.

Sci-Fi readers will stare at a romance novel as if it is diseased.  They will make a wide berth around the person distributing the free book, heads ducked to avoid eye-contact, stride swift and sure.  They will take visible steps backward if the author approaches with hand outstretched.

Seriously gals, one author who's been in this game a while, even went so far as to explain he/she couldn't accept my book because he/she had deadlines that began the next day.  (I'm willing to give that poor individual the benefit of the doubt that he/she felt I was asking to read the book.)  But seriously?  Deadlines?

I know what deadlines are, and there's absolutely nothing about a deadline that prevents someone from opening their fingers to accept a book. In fact it takes longer to generate the excuse than it does to say "Thanks" and walk away.

Now... before we go further... it's imperative that I mention, none of this upset, annoyed, agrivated me in any way.  Frankly, it amused the hell out of me.  It still makes me giggle.  I had a blast at Conquest 43, and loved every minuted of it.  The whole romance thing though--hee hee.  We're contagious and we didn't even know it.

I for one am rolling with that idea.  Romance is Contagious.  It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

The Klingons must have agreed.  They both went home with Immortal Hope, not the least bit afraid.  Then again... they're Klingons.  Not much scares them, as I hear.


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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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