B. A. Binns here, hoping you will join me in a story of celebration at Romancing The Genres!
I spent the first weekend in May celebrating of black and multi-cultural romance books, authors and readers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the annual Romance Slam Jam Conference. Attendees had three fun-filled days of workshops, lectures and keynotes, culminating in a banquet and the presentation of the Emma awards, named after Emma Rodgers, the co-founder of Romance Slam Jam. I got a slew of new books, made a ton of new friends, and got a chance to meet people from around the country that I only get to see at this annual conference.
The conference theme was Melt in Milwaukee, and although the temperature was unseasonably cold for the first week in May, we were all hot, hot, HOT! Especially during the Friday night Murder Mystery event, a “wedding” that included the murder of the groom’s best friend and a frantic attempt by participants to discover clues and uncover the murderer.
No, my table did not win, and many of the best romantic suspense authors came up with nothing. But in the end, the murderer was actually sitting at my table. Author Earl Sewell, who played the groom, was unmasked as the killer.
|Groom and his best friend, a.k.a future VICTIM|
|Wedding party, a.k.a. SUSPECTS|
|Bridzilla and the Wedding Planner|
The conference is a reader and author get-together, with separate workshop tracks for readers, writers and books clubs. There were also author sessions designed to allow attendees to meet and ask questions from their favorite authors. I learned a lot from sessions on creating audio books, the business of writing, and turning books into plays from authors who have been there and done that. I participated by giving a workshop about ways independent authors and libraries can partner to the benefit of both.
A friend I first met at the 2009 RSJ in Chicago, author Yvette Hines (I know her better as Monique Lamont) won the Emma award for Author of the Year at the 2013 Romance Slam Jam conference.
Other awards –
Hero of the year to A. C. Arthur for creating Sean Donovan in the book Surrender to a Donovan
Heroine of the year to Iris Bolling for creating Diamond Lassiter in the book Teach Me
Suspense of the year to A. C. Arthur for Temptation Rising
Sequel of the year to A. C. Arthur for Seduction’s Shift
Steamy Romance of the year to Maureen Smith for Any Way You Want
Cover of the year to Just One Taste by Celeste O. Norfleet
Book of the year was Just One Taste by Celeste O. Norfleet
Debut Author of the year went to Harmony Evans
Naturally the fun continued long after the awards banquet – I had the salmon and there was some kind of white chocolate mousse for desert. Farrah Rochon (author of sexy, sassy, contemporary romance) is setting up the 2014 Slam Jam conference in New Orleans for May 7-11, 2014. Like many other authors and readers, I am already planning a trip that will span both conferences.