Brian Feehan, Sierra London, and me photobombing a reader winning a raffle prize from Kelle Z Riley

I went to Booklovers Con ( ) a few weeks ago. Yes, right before Christmas but not a moment too late. 

I had a great time.  It is true I pretty much have a great time everywhere I go, but this Con was valuable because it reminded me of how important readers are to my creativity. 

First, I don’t want to write in a vacuum.  When I’m in my office, struggling with all the crazy doubts writers have, I start to wonder what good all this plotting and thinking is. What does story matter when life seems upside down or sideways? 

Nor do I think writers are the only ones who question themselves when left alone too long. We all do. Daily routines keep me going but they can also be stagnating. 

What plugs me into life is when I take time out for a bit of adventure . . . which, when I think about it, is exactly what I ask the characters in my books to do.  After all, when did Belle become interesting enough to have her own story?  When she was going to the bookstore again? Or when she went to rescue her father?  The Beast reminds us that we never know the full measure of our lives until we try something new.  

By the way, yes, I was masked at Booklovers (except for pictures) and I took precautions.  (I pray that someone reading this twenty years from now won’t know what I’m talking about. Or have images of Zorro in their head.) However, meeting readers, hearing what romance novels and stories mean to them, is invaluable to my creative energy. Readers are my Beast. Their enthusiasm makes me come alive. I’m out of the vacuum.

The Con was fun for readers because, well, cons are fun. If you haven’t been to one, go! A Romance event is one of the few places I can travel as a single woman and know I am going to enjoy myself. I met two police dispatchers who work sixteen-hour days. They made Booklovers a “friends” trip—they celebrated the books they love to read, they swam with the manatees, they dressed up, and ate good food. Oh, and they probably slept in a time or two because they weren’t answering to anyone.

In other words, they let go of the daily grind. I was doing the same thing, and I will continue to do so.

In 2022, I’m heading to several Fresh Fiction ( ) events around the Dallas area where I can talk books, maybe dance, and certainly step out of the predictability of everyday life. I also hope to be at Booklovers Con when they have it sometime in August (maybe) and in Texas (perhaps).  Maybe I’ll even meet a Beast. They assure me that if I hang around Texas long enough, I will trip over one or two. The fun of adventure is that I never know what is ahead.

I’m also taking part in GenreCon ( out of Kansas City again this year.  There will also be a trip to Atlanta for the Moonlight and Magnolias writers conference. 

But most of all, I hope I meet you. We’ll have a great time.  I promise.

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