I've Been Romanced
Now Playing: RWA 2011
Topic: Book Reviews
Around the age of 10 years-old, my aunt got a subscription to the Harlequin’s romance book club. When she moved out two years later, she left a few copies that I devoured under the covers with a flashlight. (I moved into her bedroom.) I mostly flipped through them to find the “good parts” but slowly got into the stories. I also read excerpts of stories by Barbara Taylor Bradford and Danielle Steele in my grandma’s Ladies’ Home Journal magazines. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was reading romance novels and Tennessee Williams plays at a pretty steady clip since there were only a handful of young adult novels to speak of. (True story, my high school librarian didn’t mind me checking out romance but when I wanted a book on puberty/sexuality, she said I needed a permission slip from my parents.)By the time I went off to college and started working in the magazine biz, I shook off my juvenile reading habits for feminist lit, African-American memoirs, and literary fiction. But there’s only so much proper literature one can read before they get burnt out on it and now I find myself back in the loving embrace romance (and its naughtier sister erotica). The last 8-months of rediscovering it has been a wonderful journey, where I have found fun new blogs, my preference for cowboys, and lots of free books & e-books. This past Tuesday, I reached the pinnacle of my journey by attending the Romance Writers’ Association Librarians Day--a day of networking, professional development, and getting free stuff! My favorite items? The romance trading cards and bookmarks. I know have a photo album bursting with these collectibles (http://romancetradingcards.com/).
Last month, I also got to let my librarain-geek flag fly at BookExpo 2011 at New York City's Jacob Javitis' Convention Center. Not only did I attend several professional development seminair like the pulishers preview of middle-grade fall 2011 fiction, but I also got to walk up and down the aisles of the expo and examine several publishing houses' booths. One of my favorites was the erotica publishers Ellora's Cave (which is celebrating its tenth anniversary and from whom I got an autographed beefcake calendar and a deck of playing cards featuring their male cover models).
At the Harlequin booth, I got to meet African-American romance novelist Gwyneth Bolton. Her book, Sizzling Seduction, was the first Kimani romance
I ever read and dispeled any misgiving I may have had about Black-themed romance novels. (Number 1 being that it would be more about race than about romance.) While I was getting my autographed, I babbled on about how great I thought Sizzling Seduction was by uttering over and over "Fireman, sexy, great, intense, fireman!" The only sad part about that moment were how non-exsistent the autograph lines were for the Kimani novelists. The lines were so short that I thought I had shown up while they were still setting up.