I’m not feeling particularly inspired today. It could be that I experienced my very first Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and have not yet recovered from the experience.
Having been invited by my new friend, Kim Adams from Hawaii, whom I had met in cyberspace following a “virtual” appearance on her wonderful blog SOSAloha, I was quite excited about the prospect of prowling the floors of the Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles, in the hope I’d brush shoulders with aspiring Fabio’s.
Nothing could prepare me for the sheer number of women equally eager to brush shoulders with those aspiring Fabio’s culminating in the infamous Mr. Romance Pageant competition on the Saturday evening. (The last time I was exposed to such hard-muscled flesh was watching the Chippendales on tour in England way back in the 1980’s.)
There was also an all-day Book Fair. Over 300 authors were selling their wares and let me tell you, Vampires are not really dead; Young Adult is super-hot and Regency Romances have never been more popular. I was pleased to see some kindred spirits bravely signing their mystery books there too—Rhys Bowen, D.P. Lyle, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Lee Goldberg and Harley Jane Kozak to name but a few. Evening events included “Ellora’s Cave Fantasy Party, the Venetian Masquerade Faery Ball and the Heather Graham and Helen Rosburg Vampire Ball.
According to the Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2010, the romance genre saw 9,089 new titles and $1.36 billion in sales in 2009, making the romance genre the single largest category in the consumer book market.
Much as I am tempted to dip my toe into this popular genre—if only to have an aspiring Fabio on my book jacket—my real passion still lies in writing mysteries and suspense. It’s not the chase that keeps me reading a book, it’s solving the puzzle. It’s not the challenge of catching a handsome husband, but capturing the villain. I don’t want to be kept awake all night by a hot-blooded rake but by excellent storytelling. Having said all that, I did come home with quite a large bag of racy pirate adventure stories set in Devon, England. My Vicky Hill Mysteries are set in Devon, too …I always think one can never do enough research, don’t you?