The annual gathering of Celebrate Romance was held May 3-5, 2002. This conference returned to the site of the very first CR held in 1998, for its fifth anniversary. The group gathered at the Flamingo Hilton Hotel - in sunny Las Vegas. Celebrate Romance is a unique gathering of romance readers who share their love of the genre on-line through various web sites, bulletin boards and e-mail discussion lists. They get together to meet their cyber-friends in person and discuss their favorite thing: ROMANCE NOVELS.
Paranormal Romance listers were there in fine form. Among the para authors in attendance were: Christine Feehan, Susan Grant, Kathleen Nance, Lisa Cach, J.C. Wilder, and J. M. Jeffries. PNR readers included Leslie Tramposch, Janice Bennet (of TBR), Katherine Schlem, Donna Combs, Raelene Gorlinsky (of SR), and Kathy Boswell (of TBR) to name a few. Carpathian shirts, inspired by Ms. Feehan's Dark series, and designed by the talented Carol Carter, were in evidence throughout the weekend testifying to the popularity of the books and our sub-genre. Other readers sported tee shirts and sweatshirts with the CR logo.
Even before the conference officially began, folks were getting together to reacquaint themselves with old friends, and meet new ones. Over thirty people overflowed the reserved room at P.F. Changs in the Aladdin Hotel, for a marvelous group luncheon. Both the food and the company were excellent.
Beginning with the Friday evening reception, PNR listers and other online readers got to meet cyber friends in the flesh, some for the first time ever. After a welcome by Mistress of Ceremonies, Falcon, the attendees got to savor astounding appetizers catered by the hotel. Entertainment, in the form of a humourous presentation by fabulous and fashionable Stephanie Burke, author of romance and erotica , and her straightwoman, Katherine (KitKat) Schlem, was last on the agenda.
Following the reception, dedicated attendees filled goodie bags, and prepared giveaways for Saturday and Sunday events. These ladies worked tirelessly through most of the night.
Saturday was spent dedicated to author to reader interaction. The infamous Falcon returned to serve as Mistress of Ceremonies, giving a reprise of her original speech given at the first CR Conference. Keynote Speakers were Jo Beverley and Bonnie Tucker who also attended the premier event. This was followed by entertaining skits: "Romance through the Ages" performed by CR reader volunteers aka The Not ready for Sound Players, and "Why C/Kath's Have More Fun", which included The Kathy Quiz, performed by romance authors known as the three C/Kathy's: authors Garbera, Carmichael and Nance.
After an early luncheon buffet at the Alta Vista, one of the Flamingo's numerous restaurants, folks broke into smaller discussion groups. Authors traveled from group to group and spoke on topics: Hot buttons: taboos in romance, What makes for a desert isle keeper/comfort read, and Heroes: tortured, alpha, beta, gamma. It was a great opportunity to speak directly to the authors as well as having the authors talk directly to their readers!
The culmination of the afternoon was the giant book trade, topped off with a gorgeous anniversary cake and punch.
Readers were free to fill the evening with entertainments of the their choice. A large group attended the dazzling "Knights Tournament: at Excalibur, while others enjoyed "The Thunder From Down Under" all male review, or a comedy performance by the "Second City" Troupe.
Sunday morning folks had the opportunity purchase books written by attending authors. A catered breakfast buffet was followed by a presentation by author Jane Porter illustrating the characteristics of an "Alpha Hero". This was followed by a Fabio video courtesy of Linda Hurst, while the readers got their purchases signed by the authors. The winners of the CR door prizes were announced as tired but happy conferencers said their final goodbyes to friends old and new.
special thanks to the PNR list authors who contributed to the group's
giveaway. The contributions were a true reflection of the diversity
of our sub-genre. The winner was thrilled.