A Slice of Heaven
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl go ga-ga over each other, but fight the attraction. Boy and girl give in to their feelings and fall madly in love. Something happens to break boy and girl up. Boy and girl reunite and live happily ever after… Oh so sweet. Oh so simple. Traditional romance fans read this scenario time and time again, yet never tire of it.
Many can’t see the appeal of romance books. As a proud romance reader and author, I hear it all the time—Romance novels are too predictable—They’re nothing but female porn—They aren’t realistic—They don’t touch real issues…. Readers and authors of romance are often times made to feel like the unwanted bastard child who refuses to just disappear.
I’m sure some of you have felt it or perhaps seen the disdain when whomever you are speaking to says, “Oh, you’re reading romance…” I’ve been known to say, “So what do you find so wrong with reading about two people who fall in love, respect each other, complement each other, solve their issues and live happily ever after?” I’m sure you all have a few dozen defense of romance battle stories.
I know at times I could just scream. Or better yet, how about finding a romance readers paradise? Somewhere where other avid readers of romance gather to commune with people who actually LOVE a great LOVE story? How about meeting your favorite romance author—scratch that—how about meeting your favorite romance authors and actually getting to hang out with them instead of being rushed through the book signing line?
How about if you are one of the “lowly” romance authors? Imagine a place where you are welcomed and shown appreciation for your talent instead of being shunned as “not a real author.” This romance readers’ paradise is also a romance authors’ paradise because you are able to connect with your readers with real quality and a large quantity of time. In this place literary agents and publishing houses seek you out.
Ahhhhhhh yes, Romance Reader and Author Heaven.
Allow me to tell you about a slice of Heaven called the Romance Slam Jam Conference, an exciting, power-packed conference for readers and authors of Black romance. Sixty published authors, numerous aspiring authors and hundreds of avid readers are expected to attend the 2008 event. Thirteen years ago, Emma Rodgers and Ashira Tosihwe, owners of Black Images in Dallas, and Best Selling Author Francis Ray began the conference to demonstrate what Nikki Giovanni describes as “The Power, Passion and Pain of Black Love.”
Big names such as Beverly Jenkins, Donna Hill, Francis Ray, Rochelle Alers and other top notch authors will be in attendance, but the Romance Slam Jam conference is much bigger than the names of authors who attend. For a few days each year, readers and authors of Black romance come together and celebrate our love of the romance genre. We discuss books, industry trends, make new friends, catch up with old, conduct workshops, party… This conference has become more than a conference, and the attendees have become more than attendees. The attendees have become a family and the conference has become a reunion. It’s impossible to explain the depth of the relationships formed at this reader and author event. This is something you must experience.
The next Romance Slam Jam will be in Chicago from 30 April – 4 May 2008. To learn more about the Romance Slam Jam Conference, visit the website at http://www.romanceslamjamconference.com.
Much Joy Peace and Love
Proud Romance Reader and Author