I just returned from the 10th annual Celebrate Romance conference in Kansas City. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, it is for readers to discuss the genre. Authors do attend but they are encouraged to participate as readers. Most of the other romance conferences really focus on writing (RT and RWA), but this one is all about reading, which is why I love attending. I have no interest in a writing career as can be demonstrated by this blog :)
I am always amazed at the number of bright, articulate women who are passionate about romance novels. I have never been accused of being well-spoken, so I didn't speak up much, but many of these women are and their thoughts on the genre were really interesting. One of the biggest suggestions for readers was to write to publishers and editors. Personally, I'm happy with the variety of books available to me, but if you aren't, let the publishers know. According to the author attendees of CR, other than buying new books, writing directly is the best way to get a different type of book on the shelf.
CR is a fun, well-run event thanks to the hard work of its organizers. Attending an out-of-town conference is not inexpensive, but getting the chance to meet people that you've known online for years is a real treat. If CR ever comes to a town near you, I highly recommend it.
Getting away for a long weekend gave me the chance to do things I don't normally get to do. I read lots of books, watched lots of junk TV, and ate at lots of nice restaurants. Combine that with chatting with other readers and you have a near perfect weekend!