So last week I tried something new. I went to a romance convention.
When I was growing up, the only convention I knew about was Gencon. But over the last couple of years, I’ve been around the block a bit. I’ve hit most of the big ones: DragonCon, San Diego Comic-con, WorldCon, as well as at least a dozen others.
Most cons I attend have two things in common.
1. They have had a strong track of writing programming. (Because I like talking about writing).
2. They’re sci-fi and fantasy themed. (Because that’s how I roll).
So how did I end up at a romance convention?
Well, first off. I was invited. Most of the conventions I go to, I go because I’m invited. This is because I’m lazy.
Second off, Romantic Times gave The Name of the Wind Best Epic Fantasy of the year in 2007. It’s nice to go to a convention where they think you’re cool. (Or at least where they thought you were cool back in 2007.)
Third, I was kinda curious as to what a romance convention would be like….
It was like this:
- At one point I was in a crowded hallway, heading to a panel. Out of curiosity, I looked around to see if I could find another man. I couldn’t. I kept looking, then turned in a full circle. I still couldn’t.
- The ratio of female authors to male authors attending the convention was at least 20 to 1. It was like the anti-gencon.
- They have an event called the “Mr. Cover Model Contest” where strapping young men parade about on stage. I don’t know what the winner gets, but I hope the prize package includes a shirt. Those poor boys looked cold to me.
- I bought a book for Sarah.
Because… y’know…. viking.
And honestly, that’s all I really have to say about the convention.
The other reason I went to this convention is that it’s in LA. I know some people in LA that I don’t get to see very often, so it was a good excuse to visit them.
Now those of you who have been reading the blog for a while might remember my first, shameful meeting with Amber Benson. Since then, we’ve gotten to know each other a bit, and when we were chatting on e-mail we came up with the idea of doing a reading and signing together when I was in LA.
So we did.
We got together for dinner first, and while we ate, we shared war stories about our books. Both of us had just written sex scenes for the first time, and we talked about how weird it was.
Then something happened. I honestly can’t remember the exact details, but I’m pretty sure I suggested that we should read our sex scenes at the event later that night. I was kinda joking, but not entirely.
Then Amber said the equivalent of, “I will if you will.”
Faced with a challenge like that, there was no way I could back down.
So about an hour later, we were standing in front of 100 people, telling them that we were going to read them some sex. They seemed okay with it.
I went first, reading the end of chapter 95. I got a little sweaty and red in the face, but I made it through pretty well, especially considering I’ve never read it out loud before.
Then it was Amber’s turn. We’ve both been busy lately, so we haven’t had a chance to reach each others’ newest books yet. So she’d thought my scene would be more explicit. She was worried her scene was way smuttier than mine. She started to read, then stopped and stepped away from the mic, shaking her head.
Now that I was done with my reading, I was pretty relaxed. I felt great, in fact. My reading was done, and I was all full of adrenaline.
“If there’s dialogue in there, we could read it together,” I joked.
Little did I know there was dialogue. So I was trapped. After an extended bout of being extremely flustered, the two of us read her sex scene together, giggling like third graders all the while.
Luckily, someone caught it on tape. You can witness the glorious debacle here if you want.
All in all, it was one of my favorite readings ever. And as a bonus, I discovered I can do a southern accent if I want to. Who knew?