Deatri King-Bey Presents Romance Slam Jam

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

Much Joy Peace and Love

Deatri King-Bey

Proud Romance Reader and Author

Last 5 posts by bam


Bam has been reading romance novels since she was 9 years old. She especially enjoyed the Sweet Valley High series, particularly the romance-centric ones. Her first real romance novel was "Perfect Partners" by Jayne Ann Krentz. She's obsessed with old-school Harlequin Romance novels and reads four or five a week.

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25 Responses

  1. katiebabs says:

    They really need a romance slam in good old NYC or Philly, because I am near there! But if I met any of my favorite authors I would go all fna crazy and faint.
    So sad but true!

  2. L.E. Bryce says:

    Yes, but is there a welcome for romance/erotica authors who write m/m or f/f? Because we sure weren’t treated so well at RT.

  3. Roslyn says:

    Are there black authors who write slash? Pardon my ignorance L.E., but I’m really curious, I don’t know that much about the genre.

    I will be there, I’m so excited. I’m feeling kinda drained these days and need to press the flesh with my fans.

  4. Deatri says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Sorry I’m so late getting back with you. I just arrived home from work.

    Katie–the Slam Jam was in NY. I think in 2002. It moves from city to city. I thought I’d faint when I saw my favorite authors for the first time. Whew howdy. Meeting them helped me decide to actually give writing for more than myself a try. I saw they were everyday folks like you and me. I’ve made TONS of lifelong friends at the conference reader and author alike.

    L.E. The Romance Slam Jam is for Black traditional romance, but I’ve read and enjoyed it all. Black romance wasn’t (may would say, still isn’t) appreciated. So us fans and authors were feeling left out. Miss Emma and Francis Ray have been working to bring us together. the conference started 12 years ago and was quite small. The community was small, but it has grown. I tell you this because you don’t have to wait on someone else to throw a conference and include what you like. Start up your own. You’ll see it grow.

    Rosyln–See you there!!!!


  5. SweetNSourGirl says:

    I know exactly what you mean. There’s some kind of stigma associated with romance novels. Why this is, I don’t know. Certain romances are better than literature (and more exciting!). There are a lot of qualitity authors out there that don’t get the credit they deserve!

  6. Deatri says:


    You sure got that right. It’s sad, sad, sad. Working from the romance formula and keeping the story interesting and feeling like the first time isn’t always the simple. Sheeesh. Thanks for coming in and commenting.


  7. Chi-town Cheryl says:

    hey Ya’ll!

    I can hardly wait for the RSJ here in Chi-Town! We gonna party! If people can make it to Chi-Town during that time, please come! The more the merrier!

    Chi-Town Cheryl

  8. Deatri says:

    Thanks for dropping by Cheryl.

    This is kind of like when I was a child waiting on Christmas. LOL.


  9. Hi, Deatri. Great post! I’m looking forward to the Romance Slam Jam. This will be my first visit.

  10. Monique says:

    I love the idea and the experience of Slam Jam. Distance means nothing to me, because the traveling time is well worth it. My very first slam Jam I flew in from Germany to Dallas. I loved every minute of it. As an aspiring writer at that time and major reader of romance, I was both nervous and excited to meet so many romance icons. Like Bev Jenkins, Donna Hill, Francis Ray and so many more. What impressed me the most was that the authors were sooooooooo down to earth. I’ve been to a lot of romance conferences since and the “celebrity” authors are untouchable, unapproachable and unappreciative of me as a reader. But, at Slam every author I met, whether they had 15 books or 1, talked to me, hugged me and just attempted to get to know me. Not all in one sitting, but through the confernce, because if we took a trip, they went as well. When we sat down and ate, they were sitting at your table. I loved it! I will be back every year I can.

  11. Deatri says:

    Patricia– You are in for a treat!!! I can’t wait for you to get there so we can welcome you into the RSJ Family. And we are a family.

    Monique– You have hit the nail on the head. I believe the reason the Slam Jam is always such a success is the atmosphere. I remember at the Dallas Slam Jam I was looking for a seat for the Emma’s banquet, looking like a lost soul, when THE Beverly Jenkins tapped me on my arm and said, sit with us.

    I wanted to faint, but I played it off. LOL. I wish I could have sat at that table with her, but I needed two additonal seats. Things like that happened ALL the time.

    I’m off to get ready for work. I’ll see you all when I get home tonight.


  12. Lynn Emery says:

    Romance Slam Jam is fantastic because the main focus is on readers and bookclubs. I don’t know of any other conference that has RSJ’s unique vibe for that reason. I was privileged to be at the first one and at least 4 others. The atmosphere is always welcoming and fun. I won’t be in Chicago, but I know it will be a big party! Rock on, RSJ. :)

  13. Ann Aguirre says:

    I’m trying to figure out if I could swing this. RT ends April 20th, and I might have a hard time selling my husband on my need to take another trip, or heaven forbid, stay in the stands for half of April!

    Sounds like a blast, though.

  14. I’ll be there, wouldn’t miss it for anything. I went to my first Slam Jam in NYC a few years back. I was unpublished and not really thinking about sending a manuscript out. I was there as an academic doing research on black women’s book clubs, reading groups and literacy events. I had this little novel I was writing on the side… but I didn’t dare dream that one day I’d be a romance author. No way . I was just happy to meet so many of the authors I had read. I vowed that I would always attend Slam Jam. It felt like home. All those women readers and writers talking about the genre I loved and read all the time! You described it right, Deatri. It was like a slice of heaven here on earth. I can’t wait for Chicago. Because I’m still that reader that loves to talk about the novels even if I’m an author now… :-) See in in the Chi!


  15. Deatri says:

    Lynn, thanks for dropping by. We had a BALL down in Louisianna. Y’all know how to throw a Slam. My dad actually came with us (me, my mom, my sister) and was kind of adopted by quite a few of the ladies. They told him where he could go fishing and he was in heaven. LOL. Sorry you can’t make this conference. I hope to see you at another event soooon.

    Ann, how about if I write your hubby a note and say the magic word, “Please.” I hope you can come. If not, we’ll still be around yearly. Sign up for the monthly newsletter. It looks like we are going on a cruise in 2010 to celebrate our 15th anniversary. Bring your hubby along.

    Gwen, I was you. Going to the Slam Jam actually convinced me to go for it. I can’t wait to see everyone again. love ya


  16. Roslyn says:

    One great thing for me is the hubster can go watch the Cubbies with the little guy while I hobnob to my heart’s content.

    BTW, y’all might get to see me in brand-new pair of stripper shoes! Bought strictly for research purposes of course. I needed to know how it felt to walk in them–it’s surprisingly easy, the platform helps. But I thought it would be kinda cool to wear them to something like Slam Jam, unless of course this isn’t something Nora would do.

  17. Deatri says:


    Guuuuuuuurllll, don’t break your ankle. Oooo maybe I can convince my hubby to come also. We just moved to Phoenix from Chicago and he LOVES the Cubs. He was sooooooo upset when the Diamond backs (arizona) beat his cubs.

    I’ll see you at the Slam Jam.


  18. Anika says:

    I’m a reader who’s wanted to attend but never actually taken the time to do it.

    This time, doggone it, I’m serious. I’m putting it on my calendar. Chicago, here I come!

  19. Dyanne Davis says:

    There isn’t a lot to add to what Deatri said about Romance Slam Jam. But I’ll tell you the one thing I noticed in the ones I attended. The authors are not and let me repeat, they are not stuck up. And they’re not phony. They are as thrilled to be at RSJ as are the readers. There is so much love there that you know you’re where you’re meant to be.

    If for no other reason come for the love.


  20. Deatri says:

    Thanks Anika! I pray to see you there.

    Hey Dyanne,

    You are soooo correct. I’ve been to many conferences, and the vibe at the Slam Jam is just sooooo different than. It’s hard to explain.

    Y’all just have to come and see for yourselves.


  21. Lareeta says:

    Deatri, you described RSJ just right; although, I’ve only attended two (Dallas, Shreveport), I truly enjoyed them. It is great meeting and socializing with the authors and fellow romance readers. As you said the authors seem to be as glad to meet you as you are to meet them. None of that attitude stuff. Shreveport was “the bomb”; the authors had as much fun as we did and in Dallas it was so much going on, I never left the hotel. I plan to bring more books for this year because in the past I left them at home. This is the only place where AA romance authors can truly meet their fans and vice versa. I have surely been pushing it when I can. Looking forward to it.

  22. Deatri says:

    Thanks for dropping by Lareeta and don’t leave those books at home.

    I’m flying up from Arizona and bringing a bag or two or three of books myself that a I need to have signed. LOL. Shoooooot, it’s on baby.

    I can’t wait to see you at the Slam Jam.


  23. L.E. Bryce says:

    I’m sorry. I always have to ask when there’s a new conference who’s welcome and who isn’t. Maybe if my sinuses weren’t bothering me so much (stupid wildfires) or if I wasn’t such a lazy git I’d have noticed the word “traditional” in the description.

  24. Deatri says:

    L.E. are you in California? That’s horrible what’s going on over there. I pray it all works out for you and your sinuses.

    And don’t give up. Send me a list of a few of the books in the genre you are talking about. I want to make sure I’m understanding correctly. My only qualification is that it’s a good story. I’ll help you find a community or we may have to start one.


  1. October 25, 2007

    […] Writer Deatri King-Bey reminds me that the next Romance Slam Jam Conference, a gathering of black romance writers and readers, will be April 30 to May 4 next year in Chicago.     Why yes, I have already started scheming about getting there. How did you know?  […]