It's Friday, so there's no better time to share stories from the lively party scene at the Romance Writer's of America convention last weekend! Each year, romance publishers host parties for RWA attendees, and let's just say romance authors know how to get down with their bad selves.
At the Kensington party, we heard the best romance story at the convention—and it was true! A couple we were chatting with had met on Honeymoon Island, where the woman was a ticket-girl at the state park and the man was a hotdog vendor on the beach. He sent notes to her through her coworkers daily until finally, she agreed to go on a date with him. And the rest is history! Trisha also met the love of her life: Sticky Toffee Pudding. [Actually, this was not a first meeting but the continuation of a long and storied relationship. —Ed.]
Next, we met author Sidney Bristol at the Ballantine party, who, as a rodeo clown turned erotic romance author, perhaps had the most interesting career path of any writer we met at RWA! This party also featured the best guacamole I have ever eaten.
Forever's cocktail party in the Tower of the Americas put us high above the beautiful city of San Antonio with some fabulous views. There was also a choose-your-own pasta bar and Forever's signature drink: the divine peach and strawberry infused Angel's Kiss.
The Best Guacamole: Part II was featured at the Berkley party, along with a prickly pear margarita and more shrimp than I knew what to do with. (I'm lying; I knew exactly what to do with it.)
But the true star of the RWA party scene was this Shrimp Tree spotted at the Avon cocktail party. You've never really seen anything until you've seen a waiter carrying around a large bamboo stick with coconut shrimp branching off of it. It was elusive, for the shrimp was almost immediately snatched off, but we were able to get a picture of a slightly de-limbed Shrimp Tree.
The tables were scattered with miniature fans and paper flower pins and hairclips crafted out of the pages of romance novels. They also had a green screen set up, where Trisha and I were able to pose for this portrait:
The Harlequin party is the final publisher party of RWA, and with a giant dance floor and a lively DJ spinning the smooth tunes of 2004 Usher, it's hard to resist busting some moves. The other difficult thing to resist was the dessert bar of brownies and s'mores. (I resisted neither.)
Truly, the romance world knows how to have fun. From great food to fancy cocktails, a good time was had by all.
The lovely paranormal romance author Nalini Singh was a little starstruck after snapping this pic with romance royalty, but granted the (decidedly less royal) BookPage editors a picture. Singh is a master of the paranormal romance genre, writing long before vampires and zombies sunk their teeth into the masses a few years back. Her latest book, Shield of Winter, was recently reviewed by BookPage.
You can check out all of our coverage of the 2014 RWA conference here.
The RITA award is the most prized of all publishing awards for romance authors. Presented at the RWA conference each year to the authors of the romance novel deemed the best in its category, the statuette is a coveted item in the romance world. The categories span the genres, from contemporary to romantic suspense, and the list of finalists features some of the most talented authors in romance. To wit, our very own romance reviewer Christie Ridgway was a RITA finalist this year for Beach House No. 9!
Of course, the winner's list always has some real gems, and we've reviewed a number of the authors in this year's RITA winners' circle. Harvard alum Sarah MacLean won in the Historical Romance category for No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, a pre-Victorian exploration of underground boxing rings and complex desires, and Susanna Kearsley won in the Paranormal Romance category for The Firebird, a tale filled with psychic powers and a love reborn.
Previous RITA winners include Laura Griffin's action-packed Scorched, which was a romance top pick in 2012. Sarah Morgan (author of our top pick in romance for July, Suddenly Last Summer) has also been honored with a RITA, along with historical romance writer Eloisa James and Jill Shalvis for her popular contemporary romance series, Lucky Harbor.
The RWA Hall of Fame is reserved for authors whose books have been nominated in the same category three or more times and includes reader favorites such as Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jo Beverly.
The RITA winners' pool certainly harbors quite the community of successful women! We'll be posting about RWA into next week, so be sure to continue checking in on the blog.
This weekend, Trisha and I had the pleasure of attending the annual RWA Conference. RWA (Romance Writers of America) is an organization that supports and advances the careers of romance authors, and the RWA conference is a four-day gathering of publishers, writers and supporters with over 2,100 attendees. It is held in a different city each year, and this year it was held in San Antonio, Texas, home of the Alamo and puffy tacos.
The conference is a fast-paced affair. Days are packed with panels about pitching novels to publishers and developing realistic characters, as well as book signings by favorites like Nora Roberts and Jill Shalvis. It all culminates in an award ceremony for the best books of the year in which the winners recieve a RITA or a Golden Heart award. And at night, there are parties! Fabulous parties with great food, plenty of drinks and incredibly friendly guests.
That's the thing about RWA: It's a gathering of the friendliest, most helpful bunch of people you'll ever meet. The romance writing community is famously supportive, and the RWA conference is a chance for writers who have been sending emails back and forth for months to finally meet in person. Many authors we met said they couldn't have finished their book if it wasn't for the support of romance writing chatrooms and friends along the way.
Stay tuned for more posts about RWA, including romance trends to look out for, a roundup of the party circuit and more!
There aren't many things that spark as much excitement at a movie theater as the film adaptation of a popular book. (Except maybe the popcorn.) With the success of films like Divergent and the Harry Potter series, it’s no wonder movie producers often look to books for their next project. Go beyond The Hunger Games, and discover other fabulous books with this guide! The upcoming months are jam-packed with book-to-film crossovers, so if you’re a book lover with a penchant for films, you’re in luck!
Audience favorites Tina Fey and Jason Bateman star in this hilariously poignant look at the absurdity and chaos of family, coming to theaters on September 19.
Judd Foxman's father's dying wish was that his estranged family would come together under one roof to observe shiva. That means seven days and nights together, and as you can imagine, longstanding issues are brought up.
Based on the acclaimed first book of the Child 44 trilogy, the movie version, starring the swoon-worthy Tom Hardy, is set to be a chilling, suspense-filled blockbuster. War hero Leo Demidov is introduced as an obedient government worker in Soviet Russia. Without question, he carries out the cruelest of deeds in service to his country. However, things begin to change for Leo as he realizes there's a serial killer targeting children in a world where crime, on the record, doesn't exist. As he attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding the murder, it becomes clear that if he continues to search for the killer, his world will be ripped apart. The trailer has yet to be released, but we have it on good word that the movie will be coming out in October!
Two years after its release, readers are still buzzing about this dark psychological thriller. And with the much-hyped movie starring Ben Affleck hitting theaters on October 3, it looks like this girl is far from gone.
After his wife goes missing, Nick's picture-perfect life begins to fall apart under scrutiny. Is his role as grieving husband just an act? Was their marriage happy? Or did something dark and bitter grow between husband and wife that led to sinister deeds? A sharp, gripping mystery filled with chilling revelations, it's no wonder this book was such a hit. From the looks of the trailer, the movie will be just as disturbing.
With its beautiful, colorful settings of Mumbai and the French countryside and mouth-watering descriptions of dishes, this book was basically begging to be made into a movie. And this movie's got star power, too: Oprah and Steven Spielberg are listed as producers, and the inimitable Helen Mirren plays the snobby French chef. Following the Haji family as they cope with tragedy and find success, all with the help of culinary traditions both old and new, the film adaptation will be in theaters August 8.
This movie, coming out this August, is bound to be a hit, because if there's one thing teens love it's sobbing in movie theaters. (Or during movie trailers. No shame.) Mia's life is pretty fabulous. She's about to get into Julliard thanks to her incredible musical talent, and she's got a lovely boyfriend. But tragedy arrives in the form of a car accident, and her world is obliterated. She lands in a coma, and she is faced with the choice of waking up to a world she doesn't recognize, or leaving it forever.
The trailer for this movie, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth and set for a September 12, gave me chills! If you put Gone Girl and Memento into a blender, Before I Go to Sleep might be the result. Christine wakes up every morning with no memory. Apparently, she's married, and a doctor has been trying to solve the mystery of her amnesia. But beyond that, she knows nothing. Christine begins to gather clues about her life on the sly, and as strange things begin to come to light about the people surrounding her, she grows more confused, and everything begins to take on a sinister sheen. Only one thing is clear to Christine: Trust no one. But can she even trust herself?
Angelina Jolie directs the film adaptation of Hillenbrand’s 2010 bestseller, the remarkable true story of one of the Greatest Generation’s greatest heroes. Louis Zamperini was already an Olympic track star when the journey that would reshape his life began. Zamperini's hopes of breaking a four-minute mile are put on hold when he is drafted into the Army Air Corps during WWII, and in 1943, his plane goes down, leaving him stranded in the middle of the ocean with very little hope of survival. But rescue arrives, paradoxically, in the form of the enemy. Zamperini is taken to a Japanese POW camp, where he is treated with abject cruelty by captors that hope to destroy him. Ultimately, Zamperini's life is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and the overwhelming drive to survive. Set for a Christmas Day release, the film is a fitting tribute to Zamperini, who recently passed away at the age of 97.
The movie adaptation of this darkly humorous novel, now in theaters, follows four people who meet by chance on a rooftop, intent on offing themselves. With characteristic Hornby style, sure to be reflected in the movie, he takes what could very easily be quite tragic and turns the tale on its head. As an unlikely bond forms between the four radically different characters, they must each face their own demons and decide, ultimately, if they're worth living with.
Sometimes, in order to recover from the grief of loss, it's best to get away. Very, vary far away if you're Cheryl Strayed. Starring Reese Witherspoon as Strayed, the film adaptation of her memoir is set for a December 5 opening.
Reeling from the death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, Strayed decided to hike more than 1,000 miles, through Oregon and California, by herself. With no training for such an endeavor, the start of the journey is pretty bumpy. But the more she experiences, the more she learns, and by the end of trail, she is stronger, wiser and far more capable.
If you enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love (both the book and movie version), you'll be sure to enjoy this film. An exploration of true happiness, the movie, set for a late September release, stars the ever-charming Simon Pegg. But what, really, is happiness, anyway? One psychiatrist, depressed by his own patients' depression, wants to find out, and travels the world in search of the true source of happiness.
So moviegoers and book lovers, which film are you most excited about seeing?
Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Prize-winning author, has passed away at age 90. Brilliant, prolific and unafraid of controversy, Gordimer was a champion of civil rights during the South African era of apartheid. With a deep and empathetic understanding of South African culture and politics, Gordimer fought tirelessly for the persecuted and oppressed.
In an interview with BookPage’s Alden Mudge in 2007, Gordimer spoke of the deep influence reading had on her life. "I began to write very, very young in the small gold-mining town in South Africa where I was born…. By the time I was 12, the librarian at this local library, who was also a friend of my mother's, allowed me the freedom of the library. I wasn't confined to the children's section. I read everything from D.H. Lawrence to Thucydides. Nobody was guiding me. I was like a pig in clover and I found what I wanted and what was nourishing to me. The local library was unbelievably important to me. It was my real education."
A literary giant and champion of equality, Gordimer will be keenly missed. You can read our full interview with Gordimer here.