Monday, April 12, 2010

Feather boas, heaving bosoms, and my first RWA meeting

Well, I survived my very first RWA meeting.

Not only survived, but I had a pretty good time.

Those of you who’ve been reading awhile will be disappointed to know I did not flash my underwear or drop gristle in a stranger’s purse.

In fact, I deliberately avoided a tempting box of Krispy Kreme donuts for fear I might fling one Frisbee-style across the room while bleating like a goat.

What? Don’t pretend you’ve never considered it.

The thing that most impressed me about the group was its diversity. Though I’ve been proudly crafting smut for awhile, I’ve never spent much time around my fellow romance authors.

Even though I know better, a tiny part of my brain still pictured a room full of nubile twenty-somethings tossing their raven locks as their feather boas fluttered in the breeze and they pranced around calling each other “dahling.”

Apparently the retired Air Force master sergeant seated next to me forgot his feather boa. It’s understandable, since he’s 81 years old.

But his respect for the romance genre – as well as for his late wife, who inspired his interest in it – was enough to make me consider the possibility that my preconceived notions about romance authors were a bit off-base.

I met authors who write Christian romance, and authors who write explicit smut. I met authors who are just starting their first books, and one author who’s spent so much time on the New York Times bestseller list they’re considering renaming it for her.

Suffice it to say, I would be hard-pressed to draw you a picture of the “typical” romance author.

And that’s not just because I can’t draw.

If you aren’t already a fan of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, you must stop what you’re doing right now and visit heir blog. Then order a copy of their divine book, BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS.

In addition to being the queens of snark, the Smart Bitches are the ultimate advocates of the romance genre. They’re clever, hilarious, and have built an impressive community of like-minded readers devoted to exploring romance novels from all angles (including some that are illegal in most Southern states).

If my first RWA meeting served to break down my preconceived notions about romance authors, the Smart Bitches will break down any you may have about the genre itself.

On that note, check out the contest they’re running. Readers were invited to create a romance novel cover using a photo they provided. As a devout Photoshop nut, I couldn’t resist the urge to play. Can you guess which one is mine?

No, I won’t tell you – it seems unfair somehow. But if you’ve been following this blog awhile, you probably find yourself saying, “I just look for the weirdest one, and that must be Tawna’s, right?”

Probably.

14 comments :

Karla Nellenbach said...

How did you know I harbor secret fantasies of hurling sugary pastries while making farm animal noises? Maybe you should start your own psychic friends network! :)

Candyland said...

So did you wear the socks?

Tawna Fenske said...

Karla, it does sound kinda fun, doesn't it?

Candyland, alas, I left the socks at home. I was boringly dressed in jeans, boots, and a nice sweater. Will save the socks for next time.

Tawna

Candyland said...

Boring.

Flannery said...

I love Smart Bitches, Trashy Books! On bad days I read their "F" reviews, because that stuff is PURE GOLD.
Glad you had a good time!

Linda G. said...

LOVE Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. High-larious!

Glad your first RWA meeting proved educational. :)

Delia said...

I think the Krispy Kreme goat bleating comment was code for which cover you did. I'm gonna go ahead and guess that the ram one was yours. Rams...bleating...it's a code! Am I right? Huh? Huh?

Tawna Fenske said...

Candyland, I just died a little inside when you said that. Am crying now.

Flannery, aren't the Smart Bitches great? I've been pondering whether I have the balls to send them my book when it comes out. Pretty sure I'll do it, but I'm also pretty sure I won't sleep for weeks afterward.

Linda G, have you read BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS? I laughed so hard I cried on at least 10 pages.

Delia, look who's so clever :) Believe it or not, I did that on accident at first. When I realized what I'd done, I left it as-is. I was accidentally subliminal!

Tawna

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!

CKHB said...

I followed all links, laughed heartily at your food mishaps, mostly because I once flung a garlic-and-butter-laden escargot at my boss during a lunch. There was no waiter to catch it Pretty Woman-style. Nope, it went straight for his chest across the table. It landed a hair's breadth from his tie, and I have no recollection of what I said, but the other junior attorneys were apparently impressed by my cool (read: state of shock).

Jamie D. said...

Sounds like you had a fun and enlightening time! I think once writers start writing romance, we should automatically morph into those 20yr olds w/boas...no exercise necessary. Wouldn't *that* be grand? ;-)

I've been thinking about joining the RWA for awhile now - we don't have any local chapters, but seems like the online chapters might be informative too.

Claire Dawn said...

I just finished listening to a lecture on "The Danger of a Single Story" by Chimamanda Adichie. She says "The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete."

Sometimes it's hard ot remember that.

-Claire Dawn

PS Cheering for lack of underwear exposure or food-related trauma, but cryin inside for the lack of the funny story you would have been able to tell.

Tawna Fenske said...

Jaydee, it was definitely less scary than I feared it would be!

CKHB, I'm totally laughing over your escargot mishap! Have you blogged about it? :)

Jamie D, I've been writing romance (more or less) for 8 years, and this is the first time I've gotten around to joining RWA. I'm looking forward to being a part of it. I'll bet the online chapters are useful, too!

Claire Dawn, don't worry, I'm sure I've got plenty of time to embarrass myself at future RWA meetings!

Tawna

Marisa Birns said...

I went to visit a friend who was attending the RWA conference last year in Washington DC, and she introduced me to one of the writers.

He was charming, great, as were all his tattoos and his black leather clothing. Hell's Angels look...so perfect for romance.

Going to check out the Smart Bitches.